France on Tuesday demanded the immediate release of hundreds of people held by Israel after a deadly raid on Gaza-bound aid ships.
"France demands the immediate release of the boats and of all the civilians who were on board," said Prime Minister Francois Fillon, noting that nine French nationals were among those held.
Fillon, addressing the National Assembly, repeated a call made earlier on Tuesday by President Nicolas Sarkozy for a credible and independent inquiry into the raid.
On Monday Israeli troops stormed the aid flotilla in an attack that left nine people dead. The Jewish state is still holding hundreds of the passengers from the six ships seized and brought to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
The aid convoy was seeking to overcome the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has been imposed almost continuously since Hamas took control there three years ago.