MADRID, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Committee for the Freedom of Ceuta and Melilla and their neighboring islands on Sunday said that it has sent five activists to occupy the Spanish "Isla de Perejil" which is situated close to the coast of Morocco.
The Committee wants Ceuta and Melilla, which Spain enclaves on the north coast of Morocco, to be returned to Moroccan sovereignty along with several Spanish held islands close to the North-African coast. It claims the activists arrived at the island in mid-afternoon with provisions for two weeks.
The Isla de Perejil, or Parsley Island, is an uninhabited island of 1.5 square kilometers just 200 meters from the Moroccan coast, which has belonged to Spain since 1668. Despite its small size and relative unimportance, it was the center of a major diplomatic incident in 2002 when a group of Moroccan gendarmes invaded it, prompting a military response from the then Spanish government of Jose Maria Aznar.
The Spanish Interior Ministry on Sunday confirmed that the Civil Guard had carried out a reconnaissance of the island and "has not seen anyone," so that the claimed activist moves "cannot be either confirmed or denied."