WASHINGTON — Saying that France is in a state of war against the Islamic State, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian Wednesday said his country will increase its military operations in the Middle East to hit back at the terrorist group and called on its allies to join in decisive strikes against ISIS-held territories.
“France is not a country that goes to war for pleasure, but sometimes wars are imposed on us,” Le Drian said. “This is the case today.”
Last week, a truck driver killed more than 80 people in Nice, France, who were celebrating the French national holiday Bastille Day. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the carnage, yet the connection between the Iraq and Syria-based jihadist terrorist group and the attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel has not been identified.
France, which has been the target of several other terrorist attacks, will increase its military operations in the region where ISIS holds territory and deploy its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to support counter-ISIS strikes, Le Drian said.
Franch also will increase its support to Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces and strengthen the security cooperation with the United States, he said.
Le Drian said the Middle East territories under the control of ISIS must be reclaimed and the group’s propaganda tools demolished to stop the threat of terrorist attacks.
“This territorial loss should allow us to hit directly to the propaganda machine of ISIS, which makes it possible to mobilize people with weak minds or fanatics who are incited to take terrorist actions,” Le Drian said. “Their only objective is to kill people and terrorize [countries] even in totally disorganized way.”
He said about “680 French are members of ISIS — 187 have been killed and about 200 came back to France. But they keep hitting us. Hitting us in France, in Belgium and in the U.S.”