France to launch air strikes in Iraq

Updated: 2014-09-19 11:04


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France to launch air strikes in Iraq
French President Francois Hollande addresses a news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, September 18, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS -- French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday his country is ready to launch air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq "soon".

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Meanwhile, Hollande said France has no plan to deploy ground troops in the conflict-torn country.

"Our goal is to contribute to peace and security in Iraq by weakening the terrorist. We will not go beyond. There won't be no ground troops," Hollande said at a press conference.

"At the request of Iraq authorities, We will act as soon as we'll identify the targets, that's to say soon," the president told reporters without giving accurate schedule.

Describing an "emergency situation in Iraq", the head of state recalled that French aircraft began reconnaissance flights over Iraq Monday from a French base in Abu Dhabi where Paris has six Rafale fighters jets and weapons have been offered to Iraq's Kurdish soldiers to halt insurgents progress in Iraqi northern region.

"Parliament will be informed since the first operations. The Prime Minister (Manuel Valls) meet the presidents of parliamentary groups as early as next week," he added.

Hollande stressed the offensive of Islamists insurgents in Iraq and Syria was threatening the security in Europe and the world, with 1,000 French nationals and residents joined Daech group and could return home "with the worst projects in their mind. "