France to step up presence in Iraqi skies

France to step up presence in Iraqi skies

Sun Oct 5, 2014 10:16PM GMT

The French Ministry of Defense says Paris is going to step up its military presence in Iraq by increasing the number of air “patrols” over the crisis-hit country.

“We will increase the rate of our patrols,” said French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday, adding, “With nine Rafale (aircraft) in the zone, we can carry out two patrols per day.”

Le Drian also commented on the US-led coalition’s strikes against the ISIL terrorists in Iraq, saying the ISIL “is not a terrorist group. It is clearly a terrorist army. There are 20,000, 25,000, 30,000 combatants that are properly armed.”

Meanwhile, the Netherland’s F-16 fighter bombers began flights over the country, said the Dutch defense ministry.

“Dutch F-16s flew today over the conflict zone in Iraq for the first time,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, control large parts of Syria’s northern territory. The ISIL sent its militants into Iraq in June, quickly seizing vast expanse of land straddling the border between the two countries.

They have threatened all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Izadi Kurds, and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

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