- Macron then heads to Israel to visit Jordan
- The anti-Islamic State coalition proposes that it is fighting Hamas
JERUSALEM, Oct 24 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday proposed expanding the international coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to include the fight against the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza.
Macron gave no details on how the US-led coalition of dozens of countries of which Israel is not a member might be involved.
Speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Macron insisted that France and Israel view terrorism as their “common enemy”.
“France is ready for the international coalition against Daesh, in which we participate to fight against Hamas in Iraq and Syria,” he told reporters.
Macron warned against the dangers of regional conflict, adding that the fight against Hamas “must be without mercy but without rules”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not comment directly on Macron’s proposal, but said the fight was between the “axis of evil” and the “free world.”
“This war is not just ours… everyone’s war,” he said.
The US-led coalition to fight the Islamic State was formed in September 2014.
Macron’s office said the idea was to draw inspiration from the alliance and that France was ready to discuss with Israel and its allies what was relevant against Hamas.
“The international coalition against Daesh does not limit itself to operations on the ground, but is also involved in training Iraqi forces, sharing information between partners and combating the financing of terrorism,” it said.
An attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel on October 7 killed 30 French citizens, in which more than 200 were captured and 1,400 were killed. 5,000 people have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
The French president, who met the families of the French victims at Tel Aviv airport, said the release of the nine French hostages was a priority for France.
He was due to meet regional leaders on Tuesday in the Jordanian capital Amman. Macron will also meet with the Palestinian leader in Ramallah in the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas’ office said.
Macron’s visit comes after EU foreign ministers on Monday struggled to agree to a call for a “humanitarian pause” in the war.
Additional reporting by Tassilo Hummel, Michael Giorgi; by Michael Rose and Ingrid Melander in Paris; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Mike Harrison, Robert Birzel and Alison Williams
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