France calls for Gaza truce, condemns killing of worker in Israeli attack

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The killing comes as French top diplomat Catherine Colonna in Israel to appeal for truce and lasting peace.

The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has condemned the Israeli bombing of a residential building in Rafah that killed one of its staff in a region previously declared a safe zone.

“France condemns this bombing of a residential building which caused the death of many other civilians. We demand that all light be shed by the Israeli authorities on the circumstances of this bombing, as quickly as possible,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The house was hit on Wednesday evening, killing the employee and 10 others who had been sheltering with colleagues and their family members in the residential location.

The employee had been working with the French government in Gaza since 2002, and some of his family members had already been evacuated from Gaza, the ministry said, offering condolences.

The ministry statement is released at a time when external pressure on Israel is increasing due to its “indiscriminate” bombing raids in Gaza. More than 80 percent of the nearly 19,000 Palestinians killed are said to be civilians.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on Sunday pressed for an “immediate and durable” truce in the Gaza war, adding Paris is “deeply concerned” over the situation in the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

“Too many civilians are being killed,” Colonna said during remarks in Tel Aviv with her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen, as Israel presses on with its offensive after the October 7 attacks that has sent tensions spiralling across the region.

The foreign minister also condemned the October 7 attack by Hamas and plans to meet with the families of the Israeli captives held in the Gaza Strip.

At least 1,140 people, most of them civilians, were killed in the Hamas attack and 240 were taken captive. Dozens of them were released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners as part of a truce deal late last month.

Colonna also plans to pursue an agreement with her Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki in the occupied West Bank during her trip.

Shortly before her arrival in Israel, Colonna condemned increasing attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

“Since October 7, unfortunately, some settlers, driven by their ideological blindness… have committed crimes” against Palestinians, she said, adding that “these settlers must be punished”.

More than 290 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank since October 7, according to the territory’s Ministry of Health.

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