France summons Israeli envoy over Gaza border scare

PARIS Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:16pm GMT

PARIS (Reuters) - France summoned Israel's ambassador Wednesday to complain after French diplomats were blocked for hours on the Jewish state's border with the Gaza Strip and Israeli soldiers fired warning shots at their convoy.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said France's consul general based in Jerusalem and several of his colleagues traveled to Gaza Tuesday to assess the reopening of border crossings and to inspect projects funded by France.

"At the end of this visit, the convoy, which had planned to go back to Jerusalem in the evening, was blocked by the Israeli authorities for more than six hours at the Erez border crossing," Chevallier told reporters.

"The convoy, which also included other European diplomats, had two warning shots fired at it from Israeli soldiers," Chevallier added.

He said the Foreign Ministry summoned ambassador Daniel Shek "to protest against this unacceptable incident and demand explanations from him."

An Israeli soldier was killed by a bomb at a different location on the border with the Gaza Strip Tuesday and troops then killed a Palestinian, violence that strained a ceasefire and left people in Gaza fearing further Israeli attacks.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy)

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