France’s Macron Calls on Iraq to Disband all Armed Factions

French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
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France’s Macron Calls on Iraq to Disband all Armed Factions

French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron called on Iraq on Saturday to disband all armed factions, including the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) that is backed by Iran.

He said during a press conference in Paris with visiting Iraqi Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani: “It is essential that there is a gradual demilitarization, in particular of the PMF that established itself in the last few years in Iraq, and that all militias be gradually dismantled.”

Macron again called for dialogue between the central government in Baghdad and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.

The French president said he was convinced a "constructive dialogue" could lead to lifting Baghdad's restrictions on the Kurdish region.



Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
TT

Hamas’ Armed Wing Says Israeli Airstrike Killed Two Hostages in Rafah

12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)
12 June 2024, Palestinian Territories, Khan Younis: Tents for displaced Palestinians at al-Mawasi area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. (Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa)

Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said on Friday that two Israeli hostages held in Gaza were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Rafah a few days ago.

The group, in a video posted on its Telegram channel, did not release the names of those said to have been killed or provide any evidence.

The Israeli government "does not want your hostages to return, except in coffins," the al-Qassam Brigades statement said.

Israel rescued four hostages held by Hamas in a hostage-freeing operation in central Gaza's al-Nuseirat on June 8. The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said more than 250 Palestinians were killed in the raid.

The war in Gaza erupted when Hamas fighters stormed southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel has responded with a military assault on the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry. Israel says its campaign is intended to eliminate Hamas as a threat and free the remaining hostages.