November 15, 2012 / 7:58 PM / in 5 years

France's Hollande in talks with Israel to end Gaza fighting

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande has begun talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other world leaders to avert an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Jean-Francois Ayrault said on Thursday.

The killing of a Hamas militant commander by the Israeli military on Wednesday has sparked a wave of reciprocal attacks between Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza, culminating in the death on Thursday of three Israeli soldiers.

“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 Berlin. France had made “direct contact” with Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, he added.

(This story has been corrected to read President Mohamed Mursi)

Reporting by Elizabeth Pinault; Writing by Vicky Buffery; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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