By Yann Le Guernigou and Guillaume Frouin PARIS/ST NAZAIRE (Reuters) - President Francois Hollande won broad domestic applause on Tuesday for defying allies Britain and the United States by confirming plans to deliver a helicopter carrier to Russia, with one backer dismissing their objections as hypocritical. Speaking on the eve of an EU meeting to discuss sanctions on Moscow over the downing of a civilian airliner over Ukraine, Hollande said late on Monday that a first Mistral warship would be handed over on schedule in October but a decision on a second would depend on Russia's attitude. It was the clearest signal yet that Paris will go through with the controversial deal despite the Ukraine crisis and came only hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be "unthinkable" for his country to fulfill such an order. He is delivering the first (ship) despite the fact he is being asked not to," Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, head of Hollande's ruling Socialist Party, told i Tele television on Tuesday.
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Palestinian civilians in densely-populated Gaza have no place to hide from Israel's military offensive and children are paying the heaviest price, the United Nations said on Tuesday. "There is literally no safe place for civilians," Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), told a news briefing in Geneva. Nearly 500 homes have been destroyed by Israeli air strikes and 100,000 people have sought shelter in schools of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), where they need food, water and mattresses, he said. Israel began air strikes on the coastal strip on July 8, saying it wanted to halt missile fire out of Gaza by Hamas militants, and launched a ground offensive last Thursday.