France demands release of Hamas officials

24th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 24, 2007 (AFP) - France on Thursday condemned the arrest by the Israeli army of a minister, three deputies and other elected representatives of the Palestinian Hamas movement and demanded their immediate release.

PARIS, May 24, 2007 (AFP) - France on Thursday condemned the arrest by the Israeli army of a minister, three deputies and other elected representatives of the Palestinian Hamas movement and demanded their immediate release.

"These arrests are serious," said foreign ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau. "They could jeopardize the future of the national unity government and the possibility of renewed negotiations between the parties."

Israel seized 33 senior Hamas figures including a minister in the occupied West Bank in the latest crackdown on the Islamists aimed at halting rocket fire from Gaza.

The overnight operation in the northern West Bank, centring on the town of Nablus, targeted Palestinian education minister Nassereddin al-Shaer, three lawmakers and at least seven mayors, the Israeli army and officials said.

"France condemns in the clearest manner the arrest of the minister, deputies and elected Palestinians and demands their immediate release," said the spokesman.

Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz said the move to seize members of the majority partner in the Palestinian unity government was "a message to armed wings of terrorist organisations to stop their rocket fire."

An Israeli woman died after a rocket crashed into her car in Sderot late Monday in the first deadly rocket strike inside Israel in six months. It was claimed by Hamas's armed wing.


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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