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France

President Hollande to visit French troops in Iraq on Monday

media French President Francois Hollande reviews security measures at the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris on 31 December 2016. Thibault Camus/REUTERS

French President François Hollande said he would on Monday visit French troops fighting Islamic state armed group jihadists in Iraq.

In the last New Year message of his presidency, Hollande said: “We are not yet finished with the scourge of terrorism. We must continue to fight it abroad – that's the reason for our military operations in Mali, Syria and Iraq, where I will travel the day after tomorrow to greet our troops.”

France has around 500 troops fighting alongside coalition forces in Iraq, backed by Rafale fighter jets.

The French President stressed that the fight against terrorism was also domestic, citing efforts to foil attempted attacks, closely watching “dangerous individuals” and fighting against radical extremism.

“I know that you are worried about the terrorist threat which has not diminished as shown by what happened in Berlin,” where a Tunisian jihadist smashed a truck into a Christmas market on December 19, killing 11 people and also shooting dead the lorry’s registered driver.

Hollande paid tribute to those killed in terror attacks in France this year, including the 86 mown down in the Bastille Day attack in Nice and smaller-scale attacks on a priest and two police officers.

This was Hollande's last New Year appearance after he announced earlier this month he would not stand for re-election in presidential polls next year.

- AFP

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