Mauritania withdraws its ambassador to Israel

In protest of the Israeli offensive in Gaza

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Mauritania, one of only three Arab League countries that enjoys full diplomatic ties with Israel, has withdrawn its ambassador in Israel in protest over the Gaza offensive, a foreign ministry source said Monday.

"The Islamic republic of Mauritania has decided to recall its ambassador to Israel as of today (Monday)," the source said.

The ambassador, Ahmed Ould Teguedi, has held his post since Mauritania opened relations with the Jewish state in 1999.

Since Israel's offensive in the Gaza strip started ten days ago Mauritania has seen daily protests mostly from students who demanded that Nouakchott break all diplomatic ties with the country.

On Sunday police clashed with anti-Israel demonstrators as they tried surround the Israeli embassy in the Mauritanian capital.

Gunmen attacked the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott last February after political parties called for then-President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi to break off ties with Israel to reflect anger over events in Gaza.

Protests against the latest attacks in Gaza, which have killed more than 500 people, have broken out across the Arab world, while diplomats have called for a ceasefire.