France joins US against Islamic State over Iraq

first_imgPARIS — France is back at America’s side in conducting military strikes in Iraq.More than a decade after spurning President George W. Bush’s war against Saddam Hussein, France on Friday became the first country to join U.S. forces pounding targets inside Iraq from the air in recent weeks — this time in pursuit of militants of the Islamic State group.Flying from the United Arab Emirates, two French Rafale jets fired four laser-guided bombs to destroy a weapons and fuel depot outside the northern city of Mosul, part of the territory the militants have overrun in Iraq and neighboring Syria, officials said.An Iraqi military spokesman said dozens of extremist fighters were killed in the strikes. A French military official said a damage assessment had not been completed, while showing reporters aerial images of targets hit. Officials said it was at a former military installation seized by the group.One analyst said the French action was more symbolic than substantive — France’s military means in the region are limited — but it could give political cover for other allies to join in and show that the U.S. is not acting alone in a country still sown with deadly violence 11 years after Saddam’s ouster. For all his political troubles at home, mainly over a sluggish economy, French President Francois Hollande has again showed he will use force to fight Islamic militants to help a beleaguered government.last_img read more

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