France's foreign minister condemned Israeli attacks on Lebanon on Thursday, and said he supported Beirut's calls for the UN Security Council to intervene.
The Israeli invasion "is a disproportional act of war with negative consequences," Philippe Douste-Blazy told France's Europe-1 radio. He added that France was calling for "the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon to be preserved."
Douste-Blazy appeared to be stepping up France's opposition to the Israeli campaign on a country with historical ties to Paris. On Wednesday, he condemned Israeli strikes but also the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbullah, and he demanded their release.
On Thursday, he warned that Israel's air campaign - its heaviest against Lebanon in 24 years - could "plunge Lebanon back into the worst years of the war with the flight of thousands of Lebanese who...were in the process of rebuilding their country."
"Today, we support the Lebanese request that the UN Security Council take up the issue as soon as possible," he said, echoing calls by Lebanon's Cabinet.
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