Hundreds of Paris riot police deployed for pro-Israel protest near Israeli Embassy

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Hundreds of riot police in Paris have been deployed near the Israeli Embassy for the first major pro-Israel rally since the start of the latest Gaza war.

Roger Cukierman, head of the group organizing Thursday's rally, said that Israel has the "right and duty to defend its citizens."

Hundreds of people have turned out for the rally, which came amid persistent reports the Jewish Defense League faces a government ban. JDD militants stepped in to assure security at synagogues during pro-Gaza protests, but were blamed for provoking violence at pro-Palestinian protests.

France has both the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Western Europe, and the Gaza war has raised tensions to their highest in years.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said groups "that can pose problems" can be banned.