PARIS Nov 15 French President Francois Hollande
has made contact with the leaders of Israel and Egypt to try to
prevent an escalation of fighting in the Gaza Strip, Prime
Minister Jean-Francois Ayrault said on Thursday.
The killing of a Hamas militant commander in an Israeli air
strike on Wednesday has sparked a wave of reciprocal attacks
between Israel and the Islamist Hamas, which rules Gaza. A total
of 16 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed.
"It's time to stop this escalation, which is dangerous for
the security of Israel and its people and for that of the
Palestinian people," Ayrault told reporters during a visit to
France had made "direct contact" with Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, he
added. "France will do everything it can to avoid an escalation
of the violence."
Mursi on Thursday condemned Israeli air strikes on Gaza as
unacceptable aggression and ordered Egypt's prime minister to
visit the neighbouring enclave in a show of support for the
Two rockets fired from Gaza on Thursday targeted Tel Aviv in
the first attack on Israel's commercial capital in 20 years,
raising the stakes in the showdown between Israel and
Palestinian militants. No casualties or damage were reported.
Israeli warplanes bombed targets in and around Gaza city for
a second day, shaking tall buildings. In a sign of possible
escalation, Israel's armed forces spokesman said it had received
the green light to call in up to 30,000 reserve troops.