France to send artillery to Iraq, deploy aircraft carrier

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Paris, July 22 (IANS) France is to send artillery to help the Iraqi army and deploy an aircraft carrier to the region to intensify the fight against Islamic State (IS) in the wake of the terror attack in Nice on July 14, President Francois Hollande said on Friday.

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.

“We will support our allies in Syria and Iraq, but we won’t put boots on the ground,” he said, explaining increased participation in the international coalition against the IS.

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

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The aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle”, which has already participated in various missions in the region, will return to boost airstrikes towards the end of September, he said.

A terrorist apparently inspired by the IS, drove a heavy duty white truck along the Promenade des Anglais into the crowds celebrating the Bastille Day. The IS claimed responsibility for the attack.

A series of measures have been taken in France to increase vigilance, including putting an additional 10,000 soldiers on patrol.

At the end of July, 15,000 reserves from the gendarmerie, national police and army will be mobilised, Hollande said.



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