Mauritania says two nationals dead after Western Sahara strike
Two Mauritanians died on the edge of the disputed Western Sahara last weekend, Mauritania said on Wednesday, after media reports attributed a deadly attack to Morocco.
According to media linked to Western Sahara's pro-independence Polisario movement, a Moroccan air strike on Sunday targeted trucks near the territory's border with Mauritania, killing three people.
The alleged killings could not be independently verified.
Rabat considers Western Sahara an integral part of its own territory, but neighbouring Algeria backs the Polisario, which has long sought an independence referendum in the former Spanish colony.
"Based on what we know, two Mauritanians died in the incident that took place on Sunday," Mauritanian government spokesperson Mohamed Melainine Ould Eyih told reporters.
"The incident happened outside our national territory," he added without commenting on the events.
Local media reports said three Mauritanians died.
Algeria, which broke diplomatic relations with its neighbour Morocco last year, on Tuesday accused Rabat of committing "targeted killings" and "repetitive acts of state terrorism".
Tensions have escalated in Western Sahara since the Polisario declared a 30-year ceasefire null and void in November 2020.
The following month, the US under the administration of then-president Donald Trump recognised Morocco's sovereignty over the territory.
The United Nations considers Western Sahara a "non-self-governing territory" in the absence of a definitive solution to the dispute.