Through a statement released Thursday, Hugues Vigier, Karim Benzema's lawyer, said the reigning Ballon d'Or winner was expressing "natural compassion" with "what many today describe as war crimes being committed in Gaza, but which does not detract from the horror of the terrorist acts of October 7, something not open to discussion."
Posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, Benzema said, "all our prayers are for the inhabitants of Gaza who are once again victims of these unjust bombings which spare no women or children."
France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, responded to Benzema during an interview with CNews Channel, by alleging that the French athlete had "a notorious link with the Muslim Brotherhood," a Sunni Islamist group with its origins in Egypt but is now banned by Cairo.
Vigier said "this is false! Karim Benzema has never had the slightest relationship with this organization."
The lawyer added that he was planning to file a complaint against Darmanin for his comments.
A source close to the French interior minister doubled down on his comments by criticizing Benzema over an alleged "drift" towards a tougher interpretation of Islam over the last years.
In response Vigier said, "we are once again witnessing an intolerable exploitation of Karim Benzema and the 'symbolic figure' that we like to make him."
French hard-left figurehead and three-time presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon weighed in on the controversy by supporting Benzema.
"The government and its friends have chosen to demonize you," Melenchon said in reference to Benzema.
Authorities see Benzema as "French only on paper," he added.
Benzema's social media sentiments were echoed by Mohammed Salah, an Egyptian Muslim football star that plays for English Premier League giants, Liverpool.
Conflict between Israel and Hamas militants started on October 7 and to date has resulted in the death of at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians and foreign nationals.
Israel has since then launched wave after wave of retaliatory air strikes, killing more than 3,000 Palestinians in Gaza.