Macron urges Iran to prevent escalation in Israel-Hamas conflict

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French President Emmanuel Macron has warned his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi “against any escalation or extension of the conflict” between Israel and Hamas, the Elysee presidential palace announced Sunday.

Israel declared war on the militia group last Sunday, a day after fighters crossed from the Gaza Strip and shot, stabbed and burned to death more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians.

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Macron particularly cautioned against any overflow of the conflict into Lebanon, during a phone call with the Iranian president.

“Iran, given its relations with Hezbollah and Hamas, has a responsibility” and “must do its utmost to avoid any regional conflagration,” the French presidency said.

Macron also “reiterated the need for all to unequivocally condemn the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas in Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself, as well as to eliminate the terrorist groups that have struck at its population”.

At least 19 French nationals were killed in the attack by Hamas and a further 13 are missing, with Macron saying that the release of hostages was “an absolute priority for France.”

He also spoke of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, reiterating France’s position that “all measures to spare civilians... must be taken and international humanitarian law respected.”

“France is also taking steps, in conjunction with the United Nations, to support humanitarian operations in Gaza,” he said.

More than one million people have been displaced in the Gaza Strip in the last week, according to the UN, after sustained Israeli bombardment and warnings about a ground attack targeting Hamas commanders.

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