PARIS, Sept. 7 (UPI) — France’s Ministry of Defense announced it would deploy artillery forces and an aircraft carrier to support Iraqi security forces in their fight for the city of Mosul against the Islamic State.
“We decided to bolster our support of the Iraqi forces this autumn, with the aim of recapturing Mosul,” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday during a meeting of military officials in Paris. “At this very moment, artillery is arriving close to the front line.”
Le Drian also said the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier “will leave to the Middle East soon.” France was the first nation to join the United States in carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State in 2014.
The French military has also supported the Kurdish Peshmerga forces — recently delivering missiles, ammunition, hand grenades and other equipment to the militia.
The Islamic State launched an attack in Paris in November in which 130 people were killed. Previously, the attacks carried out in the name of the Islamic State targeting French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in January 2015 killed 17 people.
Iraqi security forces launched an offensive to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State in March, supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. Mosul is considered one of the most important battles in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq. U.S. President Barack Obama said he expects the city of Mosul to be retaken by the Iraqi government by the end of the year.