EMMANUEL Macron, the president of France, has defended a military operation to free hostages held in Burkina Faso that left two French special forces officers dead.

Crowds lined the Alexander III Bridge in Paris as the funeral cortege carrying the coffins of the two Marine commandos drove past, part of an elaborate national ceremony honouring the men.

“The mission was perilous. The mission was necessary,” Macron said in a solemn, emotional speech at the gold-domed Invalides monument that houses Napoleon’s tomb.

French hostages “were under threat. We had to save them”, Macron said.

He shook hands with members of the special forces who attended the ceremony with scarves over their faces to conceal their identities.

The two officers, Cedric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, were killed on Friday in an operation that also left four extremists dead. The officers were part of France’s Barkhane military operation aimed at rooting out Islamic extremists in Africa’s Sahel region.

Macron vowed that France “will continue to fight tirelessly against terrorism” in the Sahel, the Syrian region and on French soil.

A MUSLIM man was killed and dozens of shops and mosques were destroyed in communal violence in apparent retaliation for the Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 250 people, a cabinet minister in Sri Lanka has said.

Rauff Hakeem, a Cabinet minister and leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, said the man was hacked to death on Monday in northwestern Sri Lanka when majority ethnic Sinhalese mobs attacked Muslim-owned shops and homes. A police curfew was imposed in the region. Communal violence has also been reported in western Sri Lanka. Muslims have been subjected to hate comments in social media since the April 21 suicide attacks on three churches and three hotels.

The Daesh group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by radicalised local Muslims.

POLITICIANS in the US state of Alabama are heading toward a vote on a proposal to outlaw most abortions that has splintered Republicans over its lack of an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

The proposed legislation is the latest instance of a US state introducing strict laws although a 1973 decision at the US Supreme Court legalised terminations. The Republican dominated Alabama Senate will vote on the bill that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony.

The bill overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives 74-3, but some Republican senators have expressed discomfort that the bill does not exclude rape.