Algeria accuses groups it associates with Morocco and Israel for forest fires | Algeria News

Algiers will review its relations with Morocco after accusing it and regroup with “Zionist links” for the deadly forest fires.

Algeria attributes its recent deadly fires to two groups it recently referred to as “terrorist” organizations, adding that one of them was supported by Morocco and Israel.

The Algerian president’s office said on Wednesday that police had arrested 22 people for starting the fires, adding that ultimate responsibility lay with the Rashad group and MAK, an autonomy movement for the predominantly Amazigh region of Kabylia.

Algeria has designated both groups as terrorist organizations this year.

The presidency said the MAK “obtains support and help from foreign parties, especially Morocco and the Zionist entity,” referring to Israel.

“The incessant hostile acts carried out by Morocco against Algeria have necessitated the revision of relations between the two countries,” the statement said.

He said there would also be an “intensification of security checks at the western borders” with Morocco. He did not specify what the review would entail.

Neither the Moroccan nor Israeli foreign ministries were immediately available to comment on the accusation.

Rocky relationships

Algeria and Morocco, its most populous neighbor, have enjoyed poor relations for decades, with Algiers supporting the armed Polisario movement which claims independence for Western Sahara, a territory Rabat considers its own.

Algeria does not recognize Israel, referring to it in official statements only as the Zionist entity. Israel said this month that it and Morocco will soon establish full diplomatic relations.

Forest fires ravaged North Africa this month but were the most violent in Algeria, causing damage and casualties in several provinces, including Tizi Ouzou in Kabylia, east of the capital Algiers.

“The security services will continue their efforts to arrest the rest of those involved (…) and all those belonging to the two terrorist organizations,” the presidency declared after a meeting of the High Security Council.

Some of the suspects confessed to being members of the MAK, according to confessions broadcast on Algerian television.

Algeria recalled its ambassador to Rabat last month after a Moroccan diplomat in New York called on the Kabyle people to have the right to self-determination.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, in a speech in July, called for better relations with Algeria and the opening of their long-closed borders.

Rabat offered to send aid to fight the fires, but Algeria made no public response.

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