Thousands of children among Ceuta migrants

A source familiar with the talks said the Social Rights Ministry had held an emergency meeting on the issue where it asked regional authorities to accept hundreds of unaccompanied minors who had arrived before the latest surge.

"The regions have shown solidarity with the migration crisis and are positive about the proposal," the source told Reuters, expecting an agreement in coming days even though centers in regions such as Andalusia or the Canary Islands were already overcrowded.

Reuters TV footage showed hundreds of newly-arrived teenagers being processed at a Ceuta warehouse where Red Cross officials gave out food and drink.

Spanish police divers have rescued several small children from the water during the crossing and soldiers deployed at the border could be seen helping youngsters to climb ashore.

Of the thousands of migrants still in Ceuta, many were children, some as young as seven or nine, some without families, said Spain's Social Rights Minister Ione Belarre.