Skip to main content

France's top diplomat discusses hostages in Israel, ahead of Lebanon visit

French Minister Catherine Colonna met today in Israel with her counterpart Eli Cohen and with families of French-Israelis missing and kidnapped by Hamas before next traveling to Lebanon.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna (C) and Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (R) visit the damaged Barzilai Medical Center in the city of Ashkelon on October 15, 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. Hamas launched a large-scale attack on Israel on October 7 which killed at least 1300 people, sparking a retaliatory bombing campaign that has killed more than 1900 in the Gaza Strip ahead of a potential Israeli ground invasion of the territory. (Photo b

PARIS — French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna met in Israel Sunday with French-Israeli nationals whose relatives are missing following the attack by Hamas. Colonna arrived in Israel Saturday night and is expected to travel to Lebanon later this evening to meet with Lebanese leaders.

Colonna came to Israel "to be by the side of our nationals," said the French Foreign Ministry. Before her departure, the ministry said that the number of French casualties stands at 17, with 13 people missing, presumably abducted by Hamas and taken to Gaza.

Speaking alongside Colonna at the Ashkelon hospital in the south of Israel, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said, “We need the time to win,” adding, “Our victory will ensure that the radical Islamist terrorism will not reach Paris, London and New York. This is a global war against criminal terrorism. As President Biden said, Hamas is worse than ISIS, and they will pay a price.”

"Coming here is, of course, a way of demonstrating the solidarity of France with the Israeli people," said Colonna. "It’s also a way for France to share the pain felt by Israelis." The French foreign minister said that Paris will offer medical assistance to Israel, particularly the Ashkelon hospital. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.