PARIS — France on Thursday opened the door to possibly joining airstrikes in Syria just hours after an Algerian Islamist group beheaded a French tourist in retaliation for Paris' military action against ISIS militants in Iraq. France has repeatedly ruled out taking part in air action in Syria where ISIS has its power base. It fears that strikes against militants there would leave a void that only Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces could fill, making it difficult for "moderate" rebels to counter the more organized Syrian army.
But the death of French tourist Herve Gourdel, who was beheaded in Algeria just 24 hours after an ultimatum was given to France to halt attacks in Iraq, appeared on toughen Paris' resolve. "We will see in the coming days how the situation evolves," Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio. Pressed further on whether it was a possibility in the future, Le Drian, who was due to take part in a war cabinet meeting on Thursday, said: "The question is on the table." Meanwhile, France's government confirmed its fighter jets struck targets in Iraq on Thursday.
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