France will provide an opportunity to remember French citizens killed in the Israeli bombardments of Gaza as the country prepares this week to pay tribute to citizens killed in the attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7, a presidential official said on Monday.
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President Emmanuel Macron will on Wednesday host a major ceremony at the Invalides memorial complex in Paris in memory of the42 French citizens killed in the attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group and three others still missing, believed to be held hostage.
Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures. Militants also seized around 250 hostages, and Israel says 132 remain in Gaza including at least 28 believed to have been killed.
Israel launched a massive military offensive that has killed at least 27,365 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry.
Wednesday’s ceremony at the Invalides “aims to pay tribute to the victims of a major terrorist attack committed by Hamas,” a senior French presidential official, who asked not to be named, told reporters.
“Nevertheless, it is obvious that we owe the same emotion and the same dignity to the French victims of the bombings in Gaza, and this tribute will be paid to them at another time,” the official added.
Describing such a tribute as a “time for remembrance”, the official said the timing and shape of it would be announced later.
There is no official information on the numbers of French nationals killed inside Gaza.
However, authorities announced on October 31 that two French children had been killed there. Sources close to the case who asked not to be named indicated that their mother was the subject of an international arrest warrant on terror-related accusations.
‘Tribute for Franco-Palestinians’
The coordinator of hard left France Unbowed (LFI) party Manuel Bompard told Sud Radio earlier that it would be “legitimate” to organise “a moment of tribute for Franco-Palestinians who also died in the context of this conflict”.
“The president could allow himself to organise both, a separate tribute or the same one, it doesn’t matter,” he added.
Many families of French citizens who died in the attack by Hamas have made clear they do not want to see LFI figures at the ceremony, accusing the party of failing to sufficiently denounce the attack and term Hamas as a terror group.
The presidential official said that according to protocol all MPs were invited to the ceremony and it “is up to everyone to assess the appropriateness or not of their presence, given families have spoken out and expressed strong emotion.”
The head of LFI MPs Mathilde Panot welcomed the idea for a tribute to victims in Gaza, saying “we must pay tribute to all victims of war crimes in the Middle East and work for peace.”