PARIS – France's foreign minister denounced an Israeli strike in southern Lebanon on Wednesday and the Hezbollah capture of Israeli soldiers that prompted it, urging both sides to remain calm.
"I am very concerned about the latest developments on the Israel-Lebanon border," Philippe Douste-Blazy said in a statement.
"I condemn the rocket strikes this (Wednesday) morning on the town of Kyriat Shmona. I also condemn the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and I ask for their immediate and unconditional release," he said.
"I call on all parties to show restraint and not engage in a cycle of violence in which civilian populations would be the first victims," he said.
He said France is in contact with all parties involved to help seek a solution to the crisis.
The Hezbollah militant group captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes along the Lebanese border on Wednesday, triggering an Israeli assault with warplanes, tanks and gunboats as Israeli troops crossed the frontier to hunt for the captives.