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Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Friday, 6 March 2009

Israel closes Mauritania embassy

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Israel has closed its embassy in the North African state of Mauritania at the request of the government.

The Israeli foreign ministry announcement came after reports that Mauritania had given Israeli embassy staff 48 hours to leave the country.

Mauritania had been one of only three members of the Arab League to have full diplomatic relations with Israel.

But it froze relations and recalled its ambassador to Israel in January in response to Israel's offensive in Gaza.

The AFP news agency reports that the Israeli flag and security measures, including surveillance cameras, were taken down overnight.

The move comes just days before Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, is due to visit Mauritania.

He has been pressing for Mauritania to cut its ties with Israel.

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