Algerian security forces foiled a plot to carry out an armed attack by separatists aided by “the Zionist entity” (Israel) and a North African country, Ennahar TV said on Wednesday.

Seventeen members of a separatist group that authorities have declared a terrorist organisation called “MAK” were arrested and documents indicating continuous contact with the “the Zionist entity” organizations and weapons were seized, Ennahar TV added.

In August, the government accused MAK and another group of being behind the devastating forest fires, which hit several provinces in Algeria, including Tizi Ouzou, adding that one of them was backed by Morocco and Israel.

Algeria cut diplomatic relations with Morocco later in August, citing what it called hostile actions by its most populous neighbour with which it has had strained relations for decades.

Algeria closes airspace to Moroccan aviation as dispute deepens

Algeria’s supreme security council decided in September to close the country’s airspace to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft, less than a month after it cut diplomatic relations with the Kingdom.

The decision came “in view of the continued provocations and hostile practices on the Moroccan side”, it said in a statement.

The closure also includes any aircraft carrying a Moroccan registration number, the Presidency said after a meeting of the council.

A source at Royal Air Maroc said the closure would only affect 15 flights weekly linking Morocco with Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt.

The source described the closure as insignificant and said the relevant flights could reroute over the Mediterranean.

The airline gave no official comment on the Algerian decision.

Algeria late last month decided to cut diplomatic ties with Morocco, citing “hostile actions” from the Kingdom, referring mainly to comments made by Morocco’s envoy in New York in favour of the self-determination of the Kabylie region in Algeria.

Algiers also accused Rabat of backing MAK, a separatist group that the government has declared a terrorist organisation.

Authorities blame the group for devastating wildfires, mainly in Kabylie, that killed at least 65 people.

MAK has denied the accusations.