France delivers three planes of aid to Gaza, French boats in Mediterranean

PARIS (Reuters) - Three French planes delivering 54 tonnes of aid for Gaza arrived in Egypt this weekend and France has three naval vessels in the eastern Mediterranean ready to respond to the evolving situation, senior officials said on Sunday.

The announcements came as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna called for an "immediate humanitarian truce", during a trip to Doha, and warned against allowing the conflict to spread in the region.

Israel has rebuffed repeated international calls for a ceasefire in the four weeks since fighters from Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, burst over the border, killing 1,400 people and taking more than 240 others hostage.

Israel has since struck Gaza from the air, imposed a siege and launched a ground assault, stirring global alarm at humanitarian conditions in the enclave and, Gaza officials said on Sunday, killing more than 9,770 Palestinians.

The French aid was delivered over the weekend by two Airbus A400M planes, which are partially armoured, the French army said on X, formerly known as Twitter. Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu later said a third A400M plane of aid had arrived.

"This humanitarian cargo, which is destined for the civilian populations of the Gaza Strip, contains medicine, food aid, generators," the captain for one of the planes, Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas, said on Saturday morning before taking off.

A French helicopter carrier, the Tonnerre, which has medical support facilities, and two naval vessels were in the Mediterranean, the French Army said on X.

They were part a "robust and versatile apparatus that is capable of integrating the evolutions of the situation in the region," it added without going into details.

On Thursday, Defence Minister Lecornu announced that a second helicopter carrier, Dixmude, would be sent.

(Reporting by Layli Foroudi, Jean Terzian; Editing by Andrew Heavens)