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France condemns ‘vicious cycle’ of Israel-Gaza violence

Smoke from what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Sunday Reuters/Suhaib Salem

France on Sunday condemned the “vicious cycle” of attacks on Gaza and on Israel and called for a “real ceasefire” and negotiations, in a statement issued by Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius.

A 24-hour Israeli ceasefire ended on Sunday morning with bombing of the Gaza Strip resuming in response to Palestinian rocket attacks.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Hamas, which controls the area, then declared that it would accept a 24-hour ceasefire from 2.00pm local time but Israel continued air strikes.

“Despite the multiple international appeals and promises from both sides, the attacks on Gaza and on Israel have started again with their unbearable accompaniment of destruction and death,” the statement said.

“France condemns this vicious cycle and urgently calls for a real ceasefire and the start of negotiations,” Fabius adds.

Foreign affairs ministers from the US, European countries, Qatar and Turkey called for the ceasefire to be prolonged at a meeting in Paris on Saturday.

The death toll from the latest Gaza conflict stood at 1,054 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 46 Israelis, mostly soldiers, early on Sunday afternoon.