'Islamic State must be wiped out' - French defense minister

By REUTERS
January 13, 2015 12:50
1 minute read.

 
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PARIS - Islamic State fighters must be wiped out, France's defense minister said on Tuesday, indicating that Paris would not pull back from military operations overseas after 17 people were killed by home-grown militants in Paris last week.

After the United States, France has the largest number of planes and troops involved in the coalition fighting Islamic State.It also has about 3,500 troops and special forces operating in the Sahel-Sahara region hunting down al-Qaida-linked militants.

France intervened in Mali to oust Islamist militants from its former colony in January 2013 and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian noted that two years later French forces were now fighting the "same threat" on home soil.

Parliament will vote later on Tuesday on whether to extend France's military mission in Iraq, four months after its launch.

"The response is inside and outside France. Islamic State is a terrorist army with fighters from everywhere ... it is an international army that has to be wiped out and that is why we are part of the coalition," Le Drian said.

More than 1,120 French citizens are involved in jihadi cells linked to Iraq and Syria, of which about 400 are in the region.

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