PARIS: France’s foreign minister told her Iranian counterpart Saturday that “Iran and its affiliates” must stop “destabilising acts” that could spark a broader conflict in the Middle East amid the war in Gaza.

During a telephone call with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Catherine Colonna “delivered a very clear message: the risk of regional conflagration has never been so great; Iran and its affiliates must immediately cease their destabilising acts”, according to a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

“Nobody would win from escalation,“ it added.

Their call came after the Iran-backed Hezbollah group in Lebanon said it had targeted an Israeli base with 62 missiles in an “initial response” to the killing of Hamas’s deputy leader in Beirut.

Israel has vowed to eradicate Hamas militants from Gaza after their lightning attack on Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of around 1,140 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Israel since then has been carrying out a relentless bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza that have killed at least 22,722 people, most of them women and children, according to the territory's health ministry.

Iran state media also said Saturday that the twin bombing attack Wednesday at a ceremony near the tomb of a top Revolutionary Guards general had killed 91 people, a higher toll than initially reported after two victims died of their wounds.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the strike, which added to fears of a wider conflict in the region.

In an earlier statement, Colonna said she had also spoken with Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

“Egypt and France are on the front line for access of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the evacuation of the most seriously wounded,“ she said on X. -AFP

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