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Israel asked by Mauritania to close its embassy

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  • Israel official: Reasons for the Mauritanian request not yet clear
  • Mauritania one of 4 Muslim countries maintaining diplomatic relations with Israel
  • Relations between countries strained during Israel's recent Gaza operation
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Mauritania has requested that Israel close its embassy in the West African country, according to an official in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign affairs.

The official said Friday the reasons for the Mauritanian request were not yet clear and that Israel's ambassador to the country will be going on leave.

Mauritania, an Islamic republic, is one of four Muslim countries that maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel. The other three are Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. Israel's embassy is in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania.

Relations between the two countries have been strained during Israel's recent military operation in the Gaza Strip, resulting in Mauritania freezing relations and closing its Tel aviv-based embassy on January 16.

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