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France Summons Israel's Ambassador Over Gaza Shots

The French Foreign Ministry has summoned Israel's Ambassador to account for an incident Tuesday involving its officials at the Gaza border.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 1/28/2009, 7:07 PM

Israel News Photo: (file)

The French Foreign Ministry has issued a formal complaint to Israel over shots that were fired at a convoy of French officials who had traveled to the border with Gaza.

Ambassador Daniel Shek was summoned to the French ministry to respond to an incident on the Gaza border involving a French diplomatic delegation on Tuesday afternoon.

The French officials were reportedly blocked for hours at the Erez Crossing, according to the Reuters news agency, after they were sent to assess the reopening of the terminals and to inspect projects funded by France.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said: “At the end of this visit, the convoy, which had planned to go back to Jerusalem in the evening, was blocked by the Israeli authorities for more than six hours.” He added that the convoy, “which also included other European diplomats, had two warning shots fired at it from Israeli soldiers.”

Chevallier said Shek was summoned “to protest against this unacceptable incident and demand explanations from him.”

Tuesday morning Hamas terrorists attacked IDF soldiers in a cross-border bombing near the Kissufim Crossing and followed up with heavy gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). One soldier was killed and three others were wounded, including an officer who was seriously wounded.

The IAF responded with air strikes on terrorist targets that included the operative who launched the morning attack, and a number of smuggler tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor in southern Gaza and in the Rafiah area. IDF ground troops and tanks returned to the region late in the day, following a mortar attack on the Eshkol region.