Wednesday, 24 January 2018 03:32 GMT
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Hollande says recapturing Al-Raqqa terrorist HQ is priority

(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) PARIS, Jan 11 (KUNA) -- French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday reviewed France's domestic and external anti-terror operations and their implications for "national security" and he stated the capture of so-called Islamic State's headquarters in Al-Raqqa, Syria, was a priority.

The French leader chaired a "National Defence and Security Council" meeting that includes senior government ministers, intelligence, military and security chiefs.

The Council sessions examine measures taken in France to combat terrorist attacks in a period of extremely high alert, but they also review France's overseas operations against terrorist groups, principally in the Middle East and the Sahel.

Hollande "praised the progress of Iraqi forces in Mosul, with the support of the Coalition," the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

The French leader also "considered the situation in Syria and the means to prepare for the retaking of Raqqa as soon as possible," it was added.

The retaking of the IS's main base in Syria "remains a priority objective for our national security," Hollande was quoted as saying.

France has engaged several squadrons of Rafale and Mirage fighter-bombers in Iraq and Syria, flying missions from bases in the UAE, Jordan and the French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, which is being repatriated after several months in the region.

France also has deployed artillery batteries to support Iraqi forces in Mosul and also has sent a number of military advisors to assist Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting IS. (end) jk.mt


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