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French press review 26 July 2014

Text by: William Niba
5 min

The crash of Air Algeria flight AH5017 is top of the news as Paris after a disaster that killed all 116 passengers and crew, including 54 French nationals. The Gaza conflict also takes up column inches. And there's optimism about French cyclists chances in the Tour de France.

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Le Monde reports that a French army drone located the crash site in Gossi region in northern Mali, which it says is relatively easy to access and with little known jihadist activity.

Dossier: War in Mali

While the cause of the crash remains unexplained, Le Figaro reports that Paris is floating meteorological problems and technical failure as probable causes of the accident.

The head of France’s air navigation security agency Gérard Arnaux told Libération that the pilots of flight AH5017 passed through one of the biggest cumulonimbus clouds ever.

As President François Hollande called off a visit to the Indian Ocean to deal personally with the crisis, Le Figaro reports that he’s due to meet with the families of the victims this Saturday to share their grief and to tell them what the government is doing to bring the remains of their loved ones home.

You can find a photo album of some of the French victims of the crash in today’s Aujourd’hui en France. The front page supplement carries a grim caption ”Broken destinies of Flight AH5017”.

The management of the post-crash crisis underscores the extent of Mali’s dependence on France, writes Libération. According to the paper, the danger for Paris is that the tragedy could be exploited by opponents of France’s military presence in Mali.

Libération reports on the day of rage for Gaza as Palestinians in the occupied territories marked the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan with protests against the Israeli military operations in Gaza Strip.

At least five Palestinians were killed and 250 people wounded when more 10,000 Palestinians, including women and children, clashed with Israeli police in East Jerusalem, Nablus, Jenin and Ramallah, according to the right-wing paper.

The three-week Israeli operation allegedly launched to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza and destroy Hamas tunnels has cost the lives of more than 900 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 39 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

The Israeli army, Tsahal, now considers Hamas, the main Islamist movement holding sway in the Gaza Strip, as a more and more formidable force, after 33 Israeli soldiers were killed and 150 others injured in combat, according to Libération.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Le Figaro says Israel and the Islamist movement have finally agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire, after US Secretary of State John Kerry was unable to reach a lasting truce during talks Friday in Cairo

Le Figaro looks forward to a high-tension protest march for Gaza in Paris this Saturday after the city’s police chief opted to ban the demo, citing security concerns.

The right-wing newspaper reports that organisers have rejected demands by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to call off the demonstration on the grounds that there are too many synagogues on its path. Some 1,500 policemen and gendarmes have been mobilised to prevent any acts of violence, according to Le Figaro.

There are lots of comments in the national press this Saturday about the crucial time trial of the Tour de France cycling Grand Prix rolls off today. The sports daily L’Equipe is betting on French hopes Thibault Pinot and Jean-Christophe Péraud to cling to their podium two and three, despite a daunting challenge from Spaniard Alejandro Valverde when the 54km lap rolls off from Bergerac.

As the race enters Stage 20, Le Monde brings Italian yellow jersey Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team under renewed scrutiny. According to the paper, while Nibali insists that all the stories of doping linked to the team are in the past, doubt continues to linger over his performances this year and the Astana’s reputation.

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