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Mauritania Affirms Break with Israel

Mauritania's Foreign Minister Naha Mint Hamdi Oult Mouknass

Mauritania's foreign minister says her country has broken diplomatic relations with Israel.

Speaking in the capital of Nouakchott late Saturday, Naha Mint Hamdi Ould Mouknass said Mauritania has cut ties with Israel in a "complete and definitive way."

Mauritania was once one of three Arab states that had diplomatic relations with Israel. It suspended the ties in January 2009 because of an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

In March, the government expelled Israeli diplomats and ordered the closing of the Israeli embassy.

The 2009 Israeli offensive killed an estimated 1,300 Palestinians. Israel said it launched the offensive to protect itself against rocket attacks by the militant group Hamas.

Mauritania's move leaves Egypt and Jordan as the only Arab states to maintain relations with Israel.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.