Mauritania severs diplomatic ties with Israel

Mauritania has fully severed diplomatic ties with Israel, the northwest African country’s foreign minister said late on Saturday, completing a process that began last year.

Mauritania, an Islamic nation that straddles black and Arab Africa, has stopped “completely and definitely its diplomatic relations with Israel,” Naha Mint Mouknass said in the desert capital Nouakchott.

At one time it was one of only three Arab countries to have full diplomatic relations with Israel, but in March last year Mauritania expelled Israeli representatives and closed the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott. The move came after it froze ties in response to Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

More than 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed in that offensive, launched with the declared aim of curbing rocket attacks. Thirteen Israelis were killed.

Israeli aircraft struck two targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday a day after a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave killed a Thai worker in Israel, the first such attack in more than a year.

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