Algeria expressed “deep concern” on Thursday, after media reports suggested that it might be the target of Israeli-made Pegasus spyware when it launched an investigation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned what it called “unacceptable and systematic attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms” and pointed out that neighboring Morocco “conducted espionage against Algerian officials and citizens.”
Morocco and Algeria have repeatedly disputed over the disputed area of Western Sahara. Morocco considers the area an inalienable part of its territory, while Algeria supports the Polisario movement that supports independence.
After Morocco’s special envoy to the United Nations expressed support for the self-determination of Algeria’s volatile Kabili region, Algeria recalled its ambassador to Morocco for consultations. Relations between the two neighboring countries deteriorated again on Sunday.
News media including Le Monde and The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the software was developed by the Israeli company NSO Group and has been used by governments to monitor activists, journalists, lawyers and politicians around the world.
The blockbuster statement is based on documents leaked to the Paris-based media non-profit organization Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International.
It contains 50,000 phone numbers of people identified as potential targets by Pegasus between 2016 and June 2021.
Many of the numbers on the list are concentrated in 10 countries, including Morocco.
Morocco said on Monday that it “categorically rejected” claims that its intelligence services used Pegasus to monitor critics at home and abroad.
It also filed a defamation lawsuit against Amnesty International and French NGOs because its intelligence services were accused of using Pegasus against dozens of French journalists.