Israel will launch an inquiry into claims that private Israeli firm NSO Group's "Pegasus" spyware was used by governments across the globe to spy on political rivals, journalists, and human rights activists.

The inquiry team is expected to include representatives from the Defense Ministry, National Security Council, Mossad, other agencies, and legal experts.

Its goal will be to determine whether NSO Group acted in contravention of the defense export permit it received from the Defense Ministry's Defense Exports Control Agency (DECA), and whether its products were used by various clients in contravention of the conditions of the permit.

The decision to launch the inquiry came on the heels of an investigation by 17 media organizations into NSO's spyware published on Sunday on how it was being used to target prominent individuals.

The cellphones of French President Emmanuel Macron and 15 members of the French government may have been among potential targets in 2019 of the surveillance spyware, according to French newspaper Le Monde.

An official in Macron's office said authorities would investigate Le Monde's report, and if the targeting is proven, it would be "extremely grave."

Le Monde quoted NSO as saying the French president was never targeted by its clients.