President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday is to hold a ceremony paying tribute to the French victims of the attack by Hamas against Israel on October 7, with relatives of those killed and held hostage expected to attend.
The presidency also said this week that France will provide an opportunity to remember French citizens killed in the Israeli bombardments of Gaza that followed the attack by the Palestinian militant group, without giving a date.
The ceremony at the Invalides memorial complex in Paris will pay tribute to the 42 French citizens killed in the attack on Israel by Hamas and the three others still missing, believed to be held hostage.
It will be attended by the victims’ families, many of whom are being brought to France on a special flight. Every French victim will be represented by a photograph with his or her name.
A presidential official, who asked not to be named, said the tribute would also be a time to remember the importance of the “fight against anti-Semitism and through it… all forms of hatred, racism and oppression of minorities”.
Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
Militants also seized around 250 hostages, and Israel says 132 remain in Gaza, including at least 28 believed to have been killed.
Israel launched a massive military offensive that has killed at least 27,585 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry.
There has been controversy over the ceremony, with many families of French citizens who died in Hamas’s attack emphasising they do not want to see figures from the hard left France Unbowed (LFI) party in attendance, accusing it of failing to sufficiently denounce the attack and term Hamas a terror group.
The presidential official said that according to protocol, all MPs were invited to the ceremony and it “is up to everyone to assess the appropriateness or not of their presence, given families have spoken out and expressed strong emotion”.
Key figures from the LFI, including coordinator Manuel Bompard and parliamentary chief Mathilde Panot, have expressed a desire to attend.
The LFI, France’s biggest left-wing party in parliament, said it would also be appropriate for Macron to host a memorial event for the French citizens killed in Israel’s bombardments of Gaza.
“It is obvious that we owe the same emotion and the same dignity to the French victims of the bombings in Gaza, and this tribute will be paid to them at another time,” the presidential official said.
Describing such a tribute as a “time for remembrance”, the official added its timing and form would be announced later.
There is no official information on the numbers of French nationals killed inside Gaza.
However, authorities announced on October 31 that two French children had been killed there. Sources close to the case who asked not to be named indicated that their mother was the subject of an international arrest warrant on terror-related accusations.