Algeria on Thursday expressed “deep concern” after press reports that it may have been targeted by the Israeli spyware Pegasus when it launched an investigation.
The Foreign Ministry denounced what it called “an unacceptable systematic attack on human rights and fundamental freedoms” and singled out neighboring Morocco for “spying on Algerian officials and citizens.”
Morocco and Algeria have repeatedly argued over the disputed Western Sahara region, which Morocco considers an integral part of its territory, while Algeria supports the Polisario movement for independence.
Relations between the two neighbors soured again on Sunday after Algeria recalled its ambassador to Morocco for consultations after Morocco’s envoy to the United Nations expressed support for the self-determination of Algeria’s troubled Kabili region.
News outlets including Le Monde and the Washington Post reported Sunday that software developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group has been used by governments to spy on activists, journalists, lawyers and politicians around the world.
The sensational claims were based on a document leaked to the Paris-based non-profit Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International.
It contained 50,000 people phone numbers that were identified through Pegasus as potential targets between 2016 and June 2021.
Many of the numbers on the list have been grouped in 10 countries, including Morocco.
Morocco said Monday it “strongly rejects” claims that its intelligence services used the Pegasus to track down critics at home and abroad.
He also filed a defamation suit against Amnesty International and a French non-governmental organization, as its intelligence services used Pegasus against dozens of French journalists.