The Israeli army said Sunday five more soldiers had been killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip, raising the number of troop deaths there to 64 since the war began.
All five died in northern Gaza, where its forces are engaged in a ground operation against Hamas militants, the military said. Three reservists were killed on Saturday, with another reservist and a conscript killed on Sunday, it said in two separate announcements.
Macron tells Netanyahu ‘too many civilian losses’ in Gaza, urges truce
Israel has vowed to destroy the Palestinian militant group after it carried out the deadliest attack in the country’s history on October 7.
About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel during the attack and around 240 taken hostage, according to Israeli officials.
The retaliatory Israeli air and ground campaign has killed 13,000 people in Gaza, mainly civilians and including thousands of children, according to the territory’s health ministry.
Macron, whose country is a firm ally of Israel, reminded Netanyahu of the “absolute necessity to distinguish terrorists from the population” and “the importance of achieving an immediate humanitarian truce leading to a ceasefire.”
Macron also condemned violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank in a conversation with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, the French presidency said.
The French leader told Netanyahu about his “great concern over the escalation in violence against Palestinian civilians” in the West Bank and called for calm.
The Houthis, an ally of Tehran, have been launching long-range missile and drone salvoes at Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian Hamas militants it has been battling in the Gaza Strip since October 7.
Last week, the Houthi leader said his forces would make further attacks on Israel and they could target Israeli ships in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.
There was no immediate comment from the Houthis, but earlier on Sunday, Yahya Sarea, a spokesman for the Iran-backed Houthis, had said that the group would target all ships owned or operated by Israeli companies or carrying the Israeli flag, according to the group’s Telegram channel.
Sarea called on all countries to withdraw their citizens working on the crews of any such ships.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said a ship – which it did not name – had been seized, and stressed that Israel was not involved in its ownership, operation or the make-up of its international crew.
“There were no Israelis on the ship,” it said.
“This is another Iranian act of terrorism that represents an escalation in Iran’s belligerence against the citizens of the free world, with concomitant international ramifications vis-a-vis the security of global shipping routes.”
A US defense official told Al Arabiya English: “We’re aware of the situation and are monitoring it, closely.”
The Israeli military said in an earlier statement that the Houthis had seized a cargo ship in the southern Red Sea as it was sailing from Turkey to India, calling it “a very grave incident on a global level.”
“The ship departed Turkey on its way to India, staffed by civilians of various nationalities, not including Israelis. It is not an Israeli ship,” the Israeli military said in a social media post.