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Algeria bars Moroccan planes from its airspace, furthering diplomatic tensions

ALGIERS, Algeria — Algeria has closed its airspace to all Moroccan planes in the latest escalation of diplomatic tensions between the two North African neighbors.

Algeria’s High Security Council announces the decision following a meeting with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and top officials. The council cites Moroccan “provocations and hostile practices” to justify the measure.

There has been no official reaction from Morocco yet.

Both countries have a sizable expat community of the other’s citizens, who will suffer discomfort as a result of the measure. There are normally some 15 transit flights a day between Morocco and Algeria.

Last month, Algeria severed diplomatic ties with Morocco. Algeria had cited Morocco’s support for the “supposed right to self-determination” of the Kabyle people, an Indigenous people of Northern Algeria. Algeria promised that its Moroccan expat community would not be impacted.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra also claimed that Morocco had carried out “massive and systematic acts of espionage,” a reference to allegations that the kingdom’s security services used Israeli-made Pegasus spyware against its officials and citizens, according to Algerian news agency APS. Morocco denies the allegations.

Last month, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Saudi Arabia called for dialogue and mediation as tension rose between the Algeria and Morocco. Lamamra rejected those calls, stating that Algeria’s decision was “sovereign.”

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