Morocco is interested in acquiring Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system according to a report on Saturday by the Moroccan news site Le Desk.
The Iron Dome, designed to intercept and destroy short-range projectiles including rockets and drones, produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems “would ensure the better defense of the sand wall in the Sahara, but also of civil and military zones of a sensitive nature,” says the report referring to the kingdom’s military sites.
The report comes amid growing hostilities between Morocco and Algeria with relations reaching a new low after three Algerian truck drivers were killed in a bomb attack on Monday in the border area between Mauritania and the disputed Western Sahara territory.
Although Morocco has denied any involvement, the Algerian government suspects the kingdom of being behind the attack. A statement by the Algerian presidency condemned the incident and warned the kingdom that the killings “would not go unpunished.”
The statement also indicated that “Several factors point to Morocco’s occupation forces in Western Sahara as having committed with sophisticated weaponry this cowardly murder. This brutal aggressiveness is characteristic of a known policy of territorial expansion and terror.”
On Thursday, the Spanish daily newspaper La Razon revealed that Algeria had since deployed missiles near its border with Morocco.
Yesterday, Morocco’s King Mohamed VI reiterated Rabat’s territorial claims over the Western Sahara, saying its status is “not negotiable.” He made the remarks during the 46th anniversary of the Green March, a mass demonstration with the backing of the government which saw 350,000 Moroccans enter the territory in 1975 to claim it from Spain.
Morocco has been in conflict with the Algeria-backed separatist Polisario front over the Western Sahara since the end of the Spanish occupation. It turned into an armed confrontation that lasted until 1991 and ended with the signing of a ceasefire agreement which collapsed last year. Last month, the leader of the Western Sahara independence movement vowed to continue the fight against Moroccan forces along the separation wall until the international community recognises the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people.
Towards the end of last year, in exchange for resuming full diplomatic ties with Israel, the US Trump administration agreed to recognise Morocco’s territorial claims and supported its “Autonomy Plan” over the Western Sahara.