French diplomats: Shalit holds French citizenship

Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the soldier kidnapped by Palestinian operatives, holds French citizenship, and the French government is working to secure his release, diplomats said Monday. Yael Avram, spokeswoman for the French Embassy in Tel Aviv, said diplomats are "fully active in order to liberate the soldier." She said French officials in Paris were in touch with Palestinian officials, and the French ambassador planned to meet relatives of the soldier later in the day. France has strong ties with many Arab countries, and the Paris government has recently tried to raise its profile in Mideast peace efforts. Avram said Shalit gained French citizenship through his paternal grandmother, who was born in France. She had no other details on the family's ties to France.