24 Jan 2009

France sends frigate to patrol off Gaza

9:54 am on 24 January 2009

France is sending a frigate carrying helicopters to patrol international waters off the Gaza Strip as part of efforts to consolidate a ceasefire there.

A statement from President Nicolas Sarkozy's office on Friday said the surveillance, would be carried out in full cooperation with Egypt and Israel. It is aimed at preventing arms trafficking by sea to Hamas in Gaza.

Israel on Friday dismissed a number of international calls for a full reopening of border crossings with Gaza.

Fighting in Gaza ended on Sunday, with both sides declaring a ceasefire. It began on 27 December.

Palestinian medical officials said about 1300 Palestinians were killed and thousands more were wounded. Thirteen Israelis died during the conflict.