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U.S., France Condemn Violence on Lebanon Border, Urge Restraint

The White House said Monday it regretted the loss of life on the Lebanese-Israeli border and urged "maximum restraint" among all parties but said the U.S. ally has the right to thwart unauthorized crossings.

"We regret the loss of life and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those killed and wounded," spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard President Barack Obama's official Air Force One airplane.

"Israel like all countries has the right to prevent unauthorized crossings at its borders. Its neighbors have a responsibility to prevent such activity. We would urge maximum restraint on all sides," said Carney.

Ten protesters were killed and 112 others wounded when a crowd of thousands of Palestinian refugees came under fire from Israeli troops near the Lebanese border town of Maroun al-Ras during a rally to mark the 1948 "nakba," Arabic for catastrophe.

Thousands of bereaved Palestinians in camps across Lebanon on Monday laid to rest the victims of the shooting, as shops and schools in the camps closed for a day of mourning.

Also Monday, French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero voiced his country's condemnation of the acts of violence that took place Sunday "on the Lebanese-Israeli border and in the Golan and Gaza," urging all parties to exercise restraint.

"France condemns those events which left several dead and a very large number of people wounded," said Valero, voicing his "deep concern" over the violence.

"Light must be shed on these dangerous events in collaboration with the U.N. forces" in Lebanon and the Golan Heights, the spokesman added.

Paris "calls on all sides to exercise restraint and refrain from provocations," Valero went on to say, stressing the need to respect U.N. resolutions, the U.N.-drawn Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel, and the buffer zones between Syria and Israel.

Valero also announced that French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe would visit the Middle East soon.


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