Algerian security services said on Wednesday they had foiled armed attacks planned by a separatist group receiving foreign aid – including from Israel – local media reported.
The DGSN security agency said police this week severed a network linked to the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylia (MAK), a group that claims independence for the troubled region of Kabylia and that the Algeria considers it a “terrorist” organization, according to a statement released by local media.
According to Reuters, Algerian channel Ennahar TV said the attack was planned by separatists aided by the “Zionist entity” as well as by a country in North Africa. The second country has not been named, but Algeria has previously accused the MAK of being backed by Israel and its neighbor Morocco.
The security agency’s statement indicates that 17 people were arrested in northeastern Kabylia, accused of having planned “armed acts aimed at harming the security of the country, with the complicity of national parties advocating separatism”.
The suspects admitted to having been “in constant contact via the Internet with foreign parties operating under the guise of associations and civil society organizations” based in Israel and a country in North Africa, according to the statement.
In August Algeria Algeria has cut ties with Morocco, accusing it of “hostile actions”.
The move came after Morocco’s envoy to the United Nations in July expressed support for self-determination in Kabylia, a stronghold of the Amazigh (Berber) minority. Algiers firmly opposes any aspirations for independence in the region.
Long-standing relations between Algeria and Morocco have deteriorated in recent times as the conflict in the disputed Western Sahara erupted last year after a lengthy ceasefire.
Morocco considers the former Spanish colony to be an integral part of its kingdom, but Algeria has supported the Polisario Front, a movement seeking independence there.
Morocco’s normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel last year, as a counterpart to the American recognition of Rabat’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, also sparked new tensions with Algeria, a supporter of the Palestinian cause.