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PARIS: The diplomatic discord between Algeria and France deepened Sunday after Algiers banned French military planes from its airspace, its latest response to a row over visas and critical comments from President Emmanuel Macron. France's jets regularly fly over the former French colony to reach the Sahel region of western Africa, where its soldiers are helping to battle jihadist insurgents as part of its Barkhane operation.

"This morning when we filed flight plans for two planes, we learned that the Algerians had stopped flights over their territory by French military planes," an army spokesman, Colonel Pascal Ianni, told AFP.

He said the decision had "slightly impacted" supply flights but "does not affect our operations" in the Sahel.

But the move heightened tensions that had already flared Saturday when the Algerian government recalled its ambassador to France, citing "inadmissible interference" in its affairs.

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