Mauritanian media reported Tuesday that the West African nation had nabbed "the largest Mossad spy ring in the country's history." The spy ring includes several businesspeople and "activists from various Arab states," the reports added.
Mauritania's security officials remarked that the capture of the spy network was made possible thanks to careful surveillance over time. They cited "suspicious activity" as having sparked the investigation.
The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is currently ruled by a government headed by Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who took charge after a military coup in 2008, abdicated his position in 2009, and won nationwide elections that year, becoming president of the country. The country was affected by the "Arab Spring" uprisings that swept through several Arab countries in 2011, with hundreds of people taking to the streets of Nouakchott, the capital city.
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Mauritania was one of only three Arab League countries to maintain diplomatic ties with Israel, together with Jordan and Egypt.
In 1999, Mauritanian Foreign Minister Ahmed Sid’Ahmed and his Israeli counterpart David Levy signed an agreement in Washington, establishing full diplomatic relations.
In December 2008, gunmen opened fire on the Israeli embassy in Mauritania, setting off a battle with guards that wounded one person, according to Israeli officials and witnesses. The Israeli ambassador said that the victim was a Mauritanian who lived nearby. Two witnesses said the attack had been carried out by a group of men who shouted “Allah is great” in Arabic before opening fire on the embassy.
In 2009 Mauritania's military junta recalled its ambassador from Israel and said it was suspending ties due to Israel's military operations against Hamas in Gaza.
Diplomatic relations between Israel and Mauritania were officially severed in March 2010.
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