France sends more fighter jets to fight Isis

France confirmed this week that it will be sending more fighter jets to the Middle East to carry out air strikes against jihadists from Isis who have taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

France sends more fighter jets to fight Isis
France is sending more fighter jets to bomb Isis targets in Iraq, the country's military says. Photo: Alexander Klein/AFP

The French military said on Wednesday it would deploy three more fighter jets and a warship to the Middle East to boost support to Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State jihadists.

The warplanes will be sent to France's Al Dhafra military base in the United Arab Emirates, from where it has launched two rounds of air strikes as part of a US-led coalition battling IS fighters.

"The French equipment will thus be increased to nine Rafale" fighter jets, said a military statement.

The reinforcement "aims to increase aerial support of Iraqi forces, in terms of intelligence gathering and armed reconnaissance."

The frigate will be deployed to the Gulf allowing for "a naval means capable of participating, in coordination with our allies, in air traffic control of all means present in the zone."

The presidency had announced earlier the country would beef up its military deployment.

A source in the defence ministry said the planned measures could also see more troops sent to join the 1,000 soldiers at the Al Dhafra military base, and support increased to ground forces such as the Kurdish peshmerga.

Paris has already delivered arms to the peshmerga forces.

Five European countries have committed aircraft to Iraq – Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France and the Netherlands – but Britain and France are the only ones so far to have carried out strikes.

Their aerial campaign has been limited to Iraq, while US aircraft are also targeting Syria.

US aircraft have flown roughly 4,100 sorties in the air war against the jihadists in Iraq and Syria since August, including surveillance flights, refuelling runs and bombing raids, a military officer said Monday.

The US-led coalition has attracted dozens of countries, though only a handful of Arab allies – Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – are participating in the strikes on Syrian soil.

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Macron says Isis defeat removes ‘significant threat’ to France

President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that the fall of the last bastion held by Islamic State (Isis) jihadists in Syria removed a source of potential terror attacks against France by fighters based in the so-called "caliphate".

Macron says Isis defeat removes 'significant threat' to France
Photo: AFP

“A significant threat to our country” has been “eliminated”, Macron said on Twitter, while warning that “the threat remains and the fight against terrorist groups must continue.”

Kurdish-led forces pronounced the death of the Islamic State group's nearly five-year-old “caliphate” on Saturday, after flushing out diehard jihadists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria.

Fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces raised their yellow flag in Baghouz, the remote riverside village where diehard jihadists of a variety of nationalities made a desperate, dramatic last stand.

The SDF's victory capped a deadly six-month operation against the final remnants of the caliphate which once stretched across a vast swathe of Iraq and Syria, and held seven million people in its sway.    

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