Macron suggests that the anti-ISIS coalition fight Hamas

  • Macron visits Israel, heading to Jordan later
  • It is proposed that the anti-Islamic State coalition fight Hamas

JERUSALEM (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 Hamas movement in Gaza.

Macron did not provide details about how the US-led coalition, which includes dozens of countries, and of which Israel is not a member, will participate.

Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Macron stressed that France and Israel share terrorism as their “common enemy.”

“France is ready for the international coalition against ISIS, in which we participate in operations in Iraq and Syria to also fight Hamas,” he told reporters, referring to the Islamic State.

Macron, who warned of the dangers of regional conflict, said the fight against Hamas “must be merciless but not without rules.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not comment directly on Macron’s proposal, but said that the battle was a battle between the “axis of evil” and the “free world.”

“This battle is not just our battle… it is everyone’s battle,” he said.

The US-led coalition was formed to fight ISIS in September 2014.

Macron’s office said the idea was to draw inspiration from the coalition and that France was ready to discuss with Israel and its partners matters that might be relevant against Hamas.

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He added, “The international coalition against ISIS is not limited to operations on the ground, but also participates in training Iraqi forces, exchanging information between partners, and combating terrorist financing.”

Hamas militants killed thirty French citizens in their attack on southern Israel on October 7, where more than 200 people were captured and 1,400 people were killed. The Palestinian Ministry of Health says Israeli air strikes on Gaza have killed more than 5,000 people since then.

The French President, who met with the families of the French victims at Tel Aviv airport, said that the release of nine French hostages is a priority for France.

He is scheduled to meet with regional leaders in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on Tuesday. Mahmoud Abbas’s office said that Macron will also meet with the Palestinian leader in Ramallah in the West Bank.

Macron’s visit comes after European Union foreign ministers had difficulty on Monday agreeing on a call for a “humanitarian truce” in the war.

(Additional reporting by Tassilo Hamel and Michael Georgi) Writing by Michel Rose and Ingrid Melander in Paris; Edited by Kevin Levy, Mike Harrison, Robert Bircell, and Allison Williams

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