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Middle East

France launches airstrikes on IS in Iraq 'every day', minister

media Iraqi troops carry out a dmining operation in Ramadi after capturing it from IS in February AFP

France is carrying out air strikes against the Islamic State armed group in Iraq every day, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday. In the aftermath of the Nice truck attack, he argued that bombing IS in Iraq is the way to ensure France's security.

The latest French airstrike, on Monday night, hit Tal Afar, near the key city of Mosul, Le Drian told France Info radio.

"We don't announce it every day but since we are in the coalition we are striking every day," he said, referring to the US-led alliance engaged in an aerial campaign against IS.

Investigators have found that Nice attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel showed interest in IS shortly before he drove a lorry down Nice's Promenade des Anglais on Bastille Day, killing 84 people, and, although they have found no signs that he was in direct contact with the group, it claimed him as one of its "soldiers".

Defence ministers from countries in the anti-IS coalition will meet in Washington on Wednesday.

Le Drian said he expected theme to "push the offensive underway in Iraq and Syria to the limit" by concentrating strikes on the IS strongholds of Mosul in Iraq and Raqa in Syria.

Definitively eradicating IS will "take some more time", he said, adding that "striking in Mosul, striking in Iraq, is a way of ensuring our security in France and, more widely, in Europe."

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