France sending artillery, aircraft carrier to Iraq to fight Islamic State

PARIS, July 22 (UPI) — France will loan artillery to Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic state and will station an aircraft carrier in the region, French President Fran├žois Hollande said Friday.

The nuclear-powered carrier Charles de Gaulle will return to the region to facilitate airstrikes, but Hollande said no French soldiers will be on the ground to fight IS.

“The battle, this war against terrorism is also taking place outside of France [but] it’s not our soldiers who will go to war in Syria and Iraq,” Hollande said after a meeting with his defense council.

The actions come after a terrorist, driving a truck, killed 84 people in Nice, France, on July 14, followed by complaints that the government is not doing enough to protect citizens from terrorism. An investigation into the Nice attack has not established a direct link between the driver, Mohamed Bouhlel, and IS, but police said Bouhlel developed an attraction to IS, and IS called Bouhlel “a soldier” in its campaign of terror.

Hollande has already taken steps to reinforce security in France after the attack, including an extension of France’s state of emergency, which gives police additional powers to conduct raids and make arrests.

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