PARIS - French President Francois Hollande is concerned by the worsening crisis in Israel and Gaza, his office said on Thursday, calling for the escalation in violence to end and both sides to guarantee the safety of civilians.

"President Hollande expressed his concern regarding the situation in Gaza and regretted that the current military operations had caused numerous Palestinian victims," his office said after Hollande spoke by phone to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

"The safety of all civilian populations must be guaranteed and the escalation must end. Everything must be done to restore the 2012 ceasefire," the statement said.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger