Algeria accuses Morocco of deadly airstrike in disputed region

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Algeria says Morocco has carried out an airstrike in the border area between Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara, killing three Algerians.

“On November 1… three Algerian nationals were subjected to a cowardly assassination in a barbaric bombing of their trucks while they were traveling between the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, and Ouargla,” the Algerian president’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Several factors indicate that the Moroccan occupation forces in Western Sahara carried out this cowardly assassination with sophisticated weaponry,” it added, warning that the act “will not go unpunished.”

Morocco’s government made no immediate comment.

Mauritania said there had been no bombardment on its soil.

For decades, the relationship between Morocco and Algeria has been characterized by tension. The border between the two countries has been closed since 1994. Eighty percent of Western Sahara is controlled by Morocco, which regards the territory as its own. Algeria supports the Polisario Front, which seeks independence for the disputed region.

After an incident near the border crossing between Western Sahara and Mauritania last year, the Polisario declared a three-decade ceasefire against Morocco “null and void.”

Tensions between Algeria and Morocco have been exceptionally high in recent months.

Algeria broke off diplomatic ties with Morocco on August 24, accusing it of “hostile actions” after months of heightened tensions between the two North African countries.

In December, Algeria recalled its ambassador to Rabat after a Moroccan diplomat in New York called for the Kabylie people to have the right to self-determination. It has also ended gas supplies and cut off its airspace to Moroccan aircraft.

The United Nations Security Council on Friday called on all sides to resume negotiations toward a solution in Western Sahara as it renewed a UN mission in the disputed territory for one year, expressing concern at the breakdown of the 1991 ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario Front and calling for a revival of UN-led negotiations.

Algeria slammed the resolution as “fundamentally unbalanced.”


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