France terror: Israeli PM urges fight against 'Islamist extremism'

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday condemned the terror attacks in France earlier this month, which killed 20 people, and called for a fight against Islamist extremism.

"On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to send our condolences to the French Jewish community and the French people who have suffered terrorist assaults in the last few days," Netanyahu said in a statement issued by his office Saturday, according to a Xinhua report.

Netanyahu said that the attacks, on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, the killing of a French policewoman and the hostage situation in a Jewish supermarket in Paris, were the "continuation of extremist Islam's war against the West," and against "moderate Arab states".

"This is a wave of terrorism that is spreading a global net of hatred, fanaticism and murder. If the world does not take action quickly, we will find this terrorism gaining momentum and increasingly striking others centres of the free world," he said.

The Israeli leader called on the international community to be "united" against Islamist terrorism, which, he said, "seeks to exterminate Western civilisation as a whole".

As a first step, Netanyahu suggested striking at the sources of financing of the "centres of incitement".

He also called on the Jews in France, as well as those in other European countries to view Israel as their home.

According to official figures, France is the leading source of immigration to Israel as of 2014, with more than 4,500 French Jews moving to Israel in 2014, which was the highest in 25 years.

Officials have attributed it to a weak economy and an increasing sense of anti-Semitism in France.

Netanyahu will travel to France Sunday to attend a solidarity rally, according to his office. Several international leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have agreed to attend the rally.

On Wednesday, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi stormed into the Paris-based office of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and shot dead 12 people, including 10 journalists and two policemen.

An apparent associate of the Kouachi brothers, Amedy Coulibaly, killed a French policewoman Thursday and held people hostage in a Jewish grocery store in southern Paris Friday.

Coulibaly was killed Friday, as were the Kouachi brothers. Four hostages also died at the Jewish grocery store.

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