Friday, 15 December, 2017

French president upping security all summer

Howard Terry | 24 July, 2016, 05:45

France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier will assist airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, French President Francois Hollande has said.

French aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle, the flagship of the French Navy, is the largest western European warship now in commission.

It will "allow us to intensify strikes against terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq by using our Rafale jets", he added.

Hollande also cautioned about misunderstanding the role of French military personnel in Iraq.

"The terrorist attack that struck Munich killing many people is a disgusting act that aims to foment fear in Germany after other European countries", Hollande said in a statement.

In a previous interview with a French radio, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the global coalition fighting IS insurgents, targeted to take back by the end of the year Mosul in Iraq and Rekka in Syria, the group's main strongholds in the region.

France will supply the Iraqi army with artillery next month to assist in the fight against the IS, but will not send ground troops.

Hollande spoke after a meeting with defence and security officials regarding the truck attack that left 84 people killed and over 300 injured during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, Efe news reported. Hollande also outlined plans for expanded military deployment within France this summer, and defended his interior minister's handling of the Nice police presence.

Mr. Hollande has already taken steps to bolster homeland security in response to the attack a week ago, including extending France's state of emergency, which gives police powers to put people under house arrest and conduct raids.

France will shed "full light" on the July 14 attack, the president vowed. The Paris prosecutor says Bouhlel had accomplices and appears to have been plotting his attack for months, citing text messages, more than 1,000 phone calls and video of the attack scene on the phone of one of the suspects.

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