PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Tel Aviv on Tuesday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his office announced.
His visit comes more than two weeks after Palestinian terrorists stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7 and killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death on the first day of the Hamas-led assault. Among them were 30 French citizens.
At least 212 people were also taken into Gaza as captives.
Seven French citizens are still missing: one of them, a French woman, has been confirmed as among the hostages taken by Hamas. Macron has said the others are also thought to be hostages, but there has not yet been confirmation.
Israel says around 2,500 terrorists took part in the multipronged onslaught, 1,500 of whom were killed in clashes before the military regained control of the area under attack.
Since then, more than 4,600 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed across the Gaza Strip in relentless Israeli bombardments, says the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza. The figures from the terror group cannot be independently verified and are believed to include its own fighters and the victims of a blast at a Gaza City hospital on October 17 caused by an Islamic Jihad missile misfire that Hamas has blamed on Israel.
Israel says its offensive is aimed at destroying Hamas’s infrastructure, and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates, while seeking to minimize civilian casualties.
Macron’s trip will come after US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni already visited Israel.
Biden discussed the war over the phone on Sunday with these leaders, alongside Macron and Canada’s Justin Trudeau.
The US president spoke separately with Netanyahu, who held additional calls Sunday with Macron, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Dutch Premier Mark Rutte, the latter of whom is also expected to visit Israel on Tuesday.
Netanyahu’s office said that in all the conversations, Netanyahu stressed Israel is “determined to eliminate Hamas’s military and governing capabilities,” and also said that “Israel’s victory over Hamas would be a victory for the entire world.”