Staff leave Israeli embassy in Mauritania

Fri Mar 6, 2009 11:31am GMT

NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) - Staff left the Israeli embassy in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott Friday, a Reuters witness said.

Diplomatic relations between Mauritania, one of only three Arab countries to have full ties with the Jewish state, have been strained since Israel launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip in late December.

Earlier Friday, Gulf TV broadcaster Al-Arabiya said Mauritania had given the Israeli ambassador 48 hours to leave the country.

In January, Mauritania recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultation, a step an adviser to the northwest African country's government described as a "first step" to cutting ties.

(Reporting by Hachem Sidi Salem; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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