Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone with French President Francois Hollande Thursday and expressed his support for the French state and its ongoing military operation in Mali. Netanyahu voiced his regret at the loss of life among the French forces, and compared the threat faced by France, with the terror threats that Israel faces daily. He added:
“You took a brave step against extremist Islamic terrorism. In my meetings with African leaders I learned how much it threatens the future of the continent. While there are countries for which the threat of terrorism is thousands of kilometers away from the homes of their citizens, we in Israel are familiar with the threat of global terrorism from up close. For us it is only a few hundred meters away from our homes.”
Last week Hollande authorized airstrikes in Mali to stop a sudden southward push by three Islamist rebel groups. Mali, a former French colony, was once one of Africa’s most stable countries. But this changed after a 2012 coup brought Islamists to power. A poll released Tuesday showed overwhelming support among French citizen for the military operation.