Israeli strike on Gaza French Institute incomprehensible: Paris
November 4, 2023 01:35 AM
France reacted to an Israeli strike on a French institute in Gaza with "astonishment" and "incomprehension", Paris's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Friday, demanding a full investigation into why the building was hit.
"We made public today that the French Cultural Institute in Gaza was hit a few days ago in a way that caused astonishment, incomprehension and which led France to call for explanations from the Israeli authorities," Colonna told French media on a visit to Nigeria's capital Abuja.
"(We seek) to understand how a French cultural institute can be the target of an Israeli strike. We are therefore in dialogue with our Israeli partners at different levels."
Reportedly, more than 9,200 people have died in Israeli bombardments, mostly women and children.
Colonna repeated that Israel had the right to protect itself and its population, but also a duty to respect international humanitarian law.
"That is, protect civilian populations and take concrete measures to protect civilian populations," she said.
That included protecting UN humanitarian staff and media workers, she added.
The French minister said more than 30 nationals and their families had crossed into Egypt from Gaza on Friday through the Rafah border point.
"Today, we have 34 French people with their families who were able to pass," she said.
She said only some of the 170 people, including staff from the cultural centre and their families, had so far managed to get out.
Hundreds of foreigners and dual nationals have fled war-torn Gaza for Egypt as Israeli forces bombarded and fought ground battles in the besieged Palestinian territory.
Egypt said it eventually plans to help evacuate 7,000 foreigners through the Rafah crossing.