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Algeria ‘targeted’ in Israel defense minister’s visit to Morocco: Official

Published: Updated:

A top Algerian official on Thursday said the Israeli defense minister’s visit to neighboring Morocco, with which Algiers has cut diplomatic ties, “targeted” his country.

The visit by Israel’s Benny Gantz to Morocco this week comes amid tensions between Rabat and Algiers, which are embroiled in a standoff over disputed Western Sahara.

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“The enemies are mobilizing more and more to undermine Algeria” which is “targeted” by the visit, said Senate president Salah Goudjil.
Goudjil is the most senior official in Algeria after the president.

He made the remarks a day after Gantz and Morocco’s minister in charge of defense administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi, signed a security agreement in Rabat.

The deal would make it easier for Rabat to acquire hi-tech exports from Israel, and is the latest move between the two countries which normalized ties last year.

Israel has several security accords with allied nations, but the Morocco deal marks the first-of-its-kind agreement with a majority Arab nation, an Israeli official has said, on condition of anonymity.

Morocco controls most of Western Sahara and considers the former Spanish colony part of its sovereign territory.

Algeria backs Western Sahara’s Polisario Front independence movement.

Algeria cut diplomatic ties with Morocco in August, citing “hostile actions” – a charge denied by Rabat.

Earlier this month, Algiers accused Rabat of killing three Algerian civilians on a desert highway through the Polisario-held area of Western Sahara in a strike on their trucks, raising fears of an escalation.

And Polisario head Brahim Ghali said last week the movement had decided to step up military operations.

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