World Bulletin / News Desk
Western support for military action against ISIL extremists is key to preventing attacks at home, French President Francois Hollande said Monday in Iraq, where yet another bombing killed dozens.
France, one of the most active members of the US-led coalition fighting the Sunni extremist group, is particularly concerned over the return of a large contingent of French extremists from Syria and Iraq.
"Taking action against terrorism here in Iraq is also preventing acts of terrorism on our own soil," Hollande said at a base where French soldiers have been training elite Iraqi forces.
Hollande, the only major Western head of state to have visited Baghdad since the coalition was set up in 2014, stressed that supporting Iraq was one of the surest ways of securing Europe.
Of European countries targeted by terror attacks claimed or inspired by IS, France has been the worst hit, but attacks have also been carried out in Belgium and Germany.
Besides the defeated extremist fighters who are expected to return to Europe in the coming months, radicalised children who grew up in the "caliphate" IS proclaimed in 2014 are also seen as ticking bombs.
"We will have to deal with the issue of the return of foreign fighters... who committed crimes, who brought their families with them, including in some cases very young children," Hollande said.
Since it joined the United States in the coalition in September 2014, France says its warplanes have conducted 5,700 sorties, around 1,000 strikes and destroyed more than 1,700 targets.
France has 14 Rafale fighter jets that are stationed in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates and taking part in coalition operations.
It also has 500 soldiers training and advising elite Iraqi forces and CAESAR artillery vehicles stationed south of Mosul to provide support for ongoing operations to retake the city.
Australia, Britain and Italy are also part of the 60-member coalition supporting Iraq's efforts against IS.Last Mod: 02 Ocak 2017, 16:49