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Tensions between Algeria and Morocco continue, with Algeria on Wednesday accusing its arch-rival of killing three Algerians on a desert highway.

"Three Algerians were assassinated... in a barbaric strike on their trucks", Algeria's presidency said, in a statement quoted by AFP.

It added the Algerians had been travelling between the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott northeast to the Algerian city of Ouargla.

"Several factors indicate that the Moroccan occupation forces in the Western Sahara carried out this cowardly assassination with a sophisticated weapon," the statement added. "Their killings will not go unpunished."

Morocco did not immediately comment on the accusations.

Algeria announced in August that it is severing its diplomatic relations with Morocco over what it called "hostile actions" on the part of Morocco.

Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister Ramtane Lamamra announced the move at a press conference in which he read a statement on behalf of the Algerian President. Lamamra criticized Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who during his visit to Morocco earlier that month made statements against Algeria.

Algeria later threatened to divert all its Spain-bound natural gas exports via an undersea pipeline that bypasses Morocco.

Morocco has called the severing of ties "completely unjustified" and said the decision was based on "false, even absurd pretexts".

Morocco and Algeria have had poor relations for decades, with Algiers backing the armed Polisario movement that seeks independence for Western Sahara.

Last December, the head of Algeria's largest Islamist party labeled Morocco's Prime Minister Saad Eddine El-Othmani a "traitor" over his country’s decision to normalize ties with Israel.

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