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Border tensions

Algeria says Morocco attacked truck convoys in border area

Algeria says Morocco attacked truck convoys in border area
A Moroccan military post (L) is seen across an Algerian military post along the border with Morocco, as seen from Oujda, Morocco, 05 November 2021. EPA-EFE/Jalal Morchidi

CAIRO, April 12 (Reuters) - Algeria condemned on Tuesday what it called an attack by Morocco against a convoy of trucks in the border area between Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara, saying it will jeopardize United Nations attempts to ease regional tensions.

The purported attack took place on Sunday morning in the Ain Bentli region, according to Algerian press reports.

“Algeria strongly condemns the targeted assassinations committed by using sophisticated weapons of war … against civilians,” a statement released by Algeria’s foreign affairs ministry said.

There was no immediate reaction from Mauritania or Morocco.

Morocco considers sparsely populated Western Sahara a part of its territories. The Algeria-backed Polisario Front wants to establish its own state there.

Rabat ignored a similar accusation in November, when Algeria said Morocco targeted Algerian truckers in an area in eastern Western Sahara, where the Polisario said in 2020 it was resuming its “armed struggle.”

However, there is no evidence of serious fighting. Morocco said it was attached to the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement but would respond to any attack on Western Sahara territories.

Relations between Algeria and Morocco have been bad for decades and the border between them closed since 1994.

Algeria cut ties with Morocco in August last year, accusing its neighbour of working together with Israel to undermine its security, igniting fires in the Kabylie region and supporting an independence group the Amazigh speaking region.

It then closed its airspace to all Moroccan aircrafts and halted a pipeline deal that carries gas to Spain via Morocco.

Morocco called the accusations false and absurd.

Rabat says the most it can offer as a political solution to the Western Sahara conflict is autonomy within its sovereignty.

Most recently Spain and Israel gave support to Morocco’s plan, joining the United States, Germany and other countries in the Arab World and Africa.

(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; additional reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi in Rabat; Editing by Grant McCool)

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