France confirms one citizen killed, another jailed in Algeria

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France on Friday confirmed one of its citizens had been killed in Algeria, a day after media reports said two tourists were shot dead by coastguards when they strayed across the maritime border with Morocco.

Moroccan media reported Thursday that two French-Moroccans had been killed after straying across the border into Algerian waters on jet skis, near the popular Moroccan beach resort of Saida.

The foreign ministry in Paris reported only one death without providing the circumstances, saying another of its citizens was jailed in “an incident involving several of our nationals.”

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Paris did not release the identity of the person it said had been killed.

The reported incident came as tensions are high between Rabat and Algiers, stoked by a long-running dispute over the Western Sahara territory.

The border between the two countries has been closed since 1994, and Algeria broke off diplomatic ties in August 2021, accusing Morocco of “hostile acts” - a decision Rabat called "completely unjustified.”

The French foreign ministry said its “crisis support center and our embassies in Morocco and Algeria are in close contact with our fellow citizens’ families, to whom we are offering every support,” the ministry added.

News site Le360 named the pair as Bilal Kissi and Abdelali Mechouer.

Le360 reported that a third man also believed to be French-Moroccan, Smail Snabe, was arrested by the Algerian coast guard and brought before prosecutors.

Eyewitness Mohamed Kissi, the brother of Bilal, told Moroccan website Al Omk that the jet ski-riding group of three French-Moroccans and one Moroccan “got lost but kept going until we found ourselves in Algeria.”

He said a black Algerian inflatable boat had driven toward them and shot at them.

Mohamed Kissi said that he had been recovered by the Moroccan navy and brought back to Saida.

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