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France to Supply Weapons to Iraq, Increase Security

  • VOA News

French President Francois Hollande leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 15, 2016.

French President Francois Hollande leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 15, 2016.

French President Francois Hollande announced a new supply of heavy weapons is being sent to Iraq next month as part of military assistance in fighting Islamic State, but ruled out any deployment of ground forces there and in Syria.

Speaking to reporters after an emergency security meeting Friday, Hollande stressed the international nature of the fight against IS, saying that even if it was France that was attacked on July 14, it was the world that was targeted.

Hollande also outlined plans to increase domestic security forces by 10,000 troops to "protect public gatherings and festivities" in France.

"I have decided with the government of Manuel Valls to increase during the summer time the number of military forces to 10,000 (troops) to protect our public gatherings and festivities during this holiday period, popular events, recreational parks, in short, everywhere French people and foreign tourists, that we must welcome, will be this summer."

Hollande vowed that investigators would find the truth about “the circumstances and the causes” of the terror attack that took place during the Bastille Day celebration in Nice and “the eventual networks of the terrorist.”

Nice City Hall has displayed names of all 84 people killed in the attack, written on two black banners.

The victims were of 18 nationalities. More than 300 people were wounded, and Hollande said that 12 are “fighting for their lives.”

The Paris prosecutor, Francois Molins, said Thursday that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who drove a truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in the city of Nice on the French Riviera before police killed him, had accomplices and it seemed he had been plotting the attack for months.

Molins cited text messages, more than 1,000 phone calls and video of the attack scene on the phone of one of five suspects who are in custody and facing terrorism charges.

Molins identified the suspects as two Franco-Tunisians, a Tunisian and an Albanian, and one woman of dual French-Albanian nationality.

The 31-year-old driver of the truck was a Tunisian man who had been living in Nice for several years.

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