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Defiant Hollande says France will intensify IS battle

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President Francois Hollande says France will step up the battle against the Islamic State group in Syria in the wake of Paris attacks he dubbed “acts of war”, as he asked parliament to consider extending a state of emergency by three months.

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Paris terror attacks

Hollande told an exceptional meeting of both houses of parliament on Monday he would meet US President Barack Obama and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in the coming days and called for a UN Security Council meeting over the fight against IS jihadists.

A grave Hollande said the attacks in the French capital that killed at least 129 people as they enjoyed a Friday night out in bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium, “were acts of war”.

They “were decided and planned in Syria, prepared and organised in Belgium and perpetrated on our soil with French complicity”, he said.

In response, France would “intensify” operations in Syria, Hollande said a day after French jets pounded IS targets in the group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqa, its first military response to the Paris carnage.

“We will continue the strikes in the weeks to come,” Hollande told MPs.

In the fight against the extremists, Hollande said he wanted increased international assistance.

“I will meet in the coming days with US President Obama and President Putin,” he said.

Turning to measures within France, he said he would ask parliament to consider extending a state of emergency by three months.

His long and solemn speech culminated in a rendition by MPs of the Marseillaise, the French national anthem.

– AFP

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