PARIS (Reuters) -- French President Francois Hollande has begun talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other world leaders to avert an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Jean-Francois Ayrault said on Thursday.
"It's time to stop this escalation, which is dangerous for the security of Israel and its people and for that of the Palestinian people," Ayrault told reporters during a visit to Berlin. France had made "direct contact" with Netanyahu and Egyptian Prime Minister Mohamed Mursi, he added.
Israel has killed 16 Palestinians in a series of air strikes, naval shelling and tank fire since Wednesday. Militants responded with a barrage of rocket fire, killing three Israelis on Thursday morning.