France extends airstrikes in Iraq on Islamic State group
Jan. 13, 2015
PARIS (AP) — France's lower house of Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved extending French airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.
The vote came after France's worst terrorist attacks in decades. Last week in Paris, a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group killed four people in a kosher grocery and a policewoman, while two brothers that he knew for years claimed ties to al-Qaida in Yemen as they killed 12 people at a newspaper office.
"France is at war with terrorism, jihadism and radical Islamism," Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the National Assembly to thundering applause ahead of the vote. "France is not at war with a religion. France is not at war with Islam and Muslims."
The vote was 488 to 1. One lawmaker argued not to extend the campaign, saying the situation on the ground was improving and warning that more bombing could invite more extremist violence but the government and other lawmakers vigorously defended the campaign.
France quickly joined the United States in conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group last year after the militants took over sections of Iraq and Syria. French law requires a vote on extending such operations after four months. France is not bombing in Syria.