French President Emmanuel Macron Photograph:( AFP )
Pegasus spyware is licensed by an Israeli company NSO. It allegedly hacked into smartphones of journalists and government officials worldwide
French President Emmanuel Macron's phone was targeted by Pegasus spyware, the NGO that leaked the list of numbers claimed on Tuesday.
Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media nonprofit allegedly had access to the leaked numbers. The NGO said members of Macron's cabinet were also targeted.
Reports said former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 ministers were also under surveillance.
The Pegasus spyware is licensed by an Israeli company NSO. The organization had earlier issued a statement saying the reports were "full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories".
Macron's office said: "If this fact is established, it's obviously very serious."
NSO had allegedly hacked smartphones of journalists, government officials and human rights activists worldwide with 50,000 phone numbers believed to be under surveillance.
Meanwhile, French prosecutors opened investigations into allegations that Moroccan intelligence services used Pegasus to spy on the country's journalists.
Investigative website Mediapart had filed a legal complaint on Monday over the spying claims. However, Morocco said it "never acquired computer software to infiltrate communication devices."
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the government was "extremely attached to press freedom".
News website Aristegui Noticias had alleged that the Mexican president's wife and children were targets of the Israeli spyware including Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, cabinet ministers and other officials.
(With inputs from Agencies)