France Becomes First Ally to Join U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq

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PARIS - France became the first foreign country to publicly join United States airstrikes in Iraq on Friday, bombing a logistics depot controlled by Islamist militants, Iraqi and French officials said. Rafale fighter jets accompanied by support planes "entirely destroyed" the depot controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the north of the country, President Francois Hollande said. Iraq's military spokesman said four morning airstrikes killed dozens of fighters.

"Other operations will follow in the coming days with the same goal—to weaken this terrorist organization and come to the aid of the Iraqi authorities," Hollande said. "There are always risks in taking up a responsibility. I reduced the risks to a minimum." Iraqi Spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi said four French airstrikes hit the town of Zumar, killing dozens of extremist fighters. After more than 170 airstrikes by the U.S., the first French bombings have added significance: France, one of America's oldest allies, was among the most vocal critics of U.S. President George W. Bush's military action in 2003 that toppled Iraq's Saddam Hussein.


- The Associated Press