France denounces 'absurd' Israel-Hamas violence
France on Saturday denounced the "absurd" spiral of violence between Hamas and Israel after the number of Palestinians killed in recent clashes rose to 18.
"We call on the parties to do everything to break this spiral of violence, (which is) as absurd as it is deadly and to respect a lasting truce," said foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero.
"France condemns the escalation of violence" that in recent days led to rockets and mortars being fired into southern Israel and Israeli military operations, he added.
The situation today underlined in the urgent need to achieve a negotiated settlement of the conflict, said Valero.
On Friday, the foreign ministry condemned "with the greatest firmness" the Palestinian attacks and deplored the humanitarian consequences of the Israeli ripostes.
In the latest violence, Israel's military killed two Palestinians in Gaza on Saturday.
The deaths take to 18 the number of Palestinians killed, including at least six militants and a 10-year-old boy, since an anti-tank round was fired at an Israeli school bus near kibbutz Nahal Oz, close to Gaza, on Thursday.
These are the bloodiest clashes between Israel and Hamas since the the end of Operation Cast Lead, the offensive Israel launched in December 2008.
It claimed the lives of some 1,400 Palestinians -- more than half civilians -- and 13 Israelis, including 10 soldiers.
© 2011 AFP