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Hollande Heads to Russia Seeking Anti-IS Coalition

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FILE - A photo released Nov. 23, 2015 by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) shows a French army Rafale fighter jet taking off from the deck of France's aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, in the Mediterranean Sea.

FILE - A photo released Nov. 23, 2015 by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) shows a French army Rafale fighter jet taking off from the deck of France's aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, in the Mediterranean Sea.

French President Francois Hollande heads to Russia Thursday as part of efforts to build a global coalition to intensify the fight against Islamic State in the aftermath of the deadly Paris attacks.

Hollande will meet in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin, continuing a tour that has already seen him win verbal pledges of support from the leaders of the U.S., Britain, and Germany.

The Islamic State group, which controls large parts of Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the November 13 coordinated gun and bomb attacks in Paris, which killed 130 people.

France was already part of a U.S.-led coalition targeting the extremist group, but French leaders have been under intense pressure to do more to defeat the organization following the Paris attacks.

It is unclear how much progress Hollande can make in convincing Putin to join the anti-IS effort. Those hopes were further dampened Tuesday by the downing of a Russian jet by NATO ally Turkey.

The Russian jet was taking part in Moscow's own military campaign in Syria, which aims to ensure the survival of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, mainly by targeting Western-backed rebels.

French lawmakers approve strikes

France's parliament voted Wednesday to extend airstrikes against Islamic State.

Parliament's upper house, the Senate, voted 325-0 with 21 abstentions to prolong the airstrikes in Syria beyond early January. The lower house had earlier voted 515-4 in favor.

The vote came as Hollande met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris. At a shared press conference, Merkel promised to act "swiftly" in the fight against terrorism and promised her complete solidarity.

"We have a shared enemy: terrorism. The Islamic State will not be convinced with words. It has to be defeated militarily," Germany's chancellor said.

FILE - A soldier patrols in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum in Paris, Nov. 17, 2015.

FILE - A soldier patrols in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum in Paris, Nov. 17, 2015.

Intense security

In Paris, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said security will remain at the highest level in the capital ahead of the U.N. climate talks set to open Monday. About 140 world leaders expected to attend.

Cazeneuve said road traffic restrictions, border controls and additional police and troops will be in place for the conference. He said 120,000 police, gendarmes and soldiers are deployed across France to ensure the country's security.

Across the border in Belgium, schools and about half of the Brussels metro system reopened Wednesday, four days after the Belgian capital was locked down out of fear of another Paris-style attack.

In Brussels, 300 additional police officers were called up to help protect city schools. Some officers stood guard outside school gates as parents dropped off their children.

Suspects sought

Belgian and French authorities continued to search for two suspects with direct links to the November 13 Paris attacks, as well as up to 10 other people authorities fear could be planning further violence.

Fugitive Salah Abdeslam, 26, is suspected of being the eighth person the Islamic State group said took part in the attacks. Although he was stopped by French authorities several times the night of the attacks, he was allowed to cross into Belgium because his name had not yet become known.

Police are also hunting Mohamed Abrini, who was seen with Abdeslam at a gasoline station on the highway to Paris two days before the attacks, and was driving the Renault Clio that was later used in the attacks in Paris.

One of Abdeslam's brothers, Ibrahim, was a suicide bomber in the Paris attacks. Another brother, Mohamed, who was briefly detained by French authorities after the attacks, appealed on French media Wednesday for his fugitive sibling to surrender to police.

FILE - Belgian soldiers patrol in a subway station in Brussels, Nov. 25, 2015. Brussels' metro re-opened on Wednesday after staying closed for four days following tight security measures linked to the fatal attacks in Paris.

FILE - Belgian soldiers patrol in a subway station in Brussels, Nov. 25, 2015. Brussels' metro re-opened on Wednesday after staying closed for four days following tight security measures linked to the fatal attacks in Paris.

Arrests, detentions

More than two dozen people have been detained in Brussels since November 13, though all have been released except five. They have been charged with terrorist offenses, including three who drove Abdeslam in their cars after the attacks in Paris.

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said raids carried out Sunday night had been designed to foil an imminent attack in Brussels. Authorities had detained 16 people during those raids, but released all but one of them the following day. No explosives or firearms were seized.

"Indeed, there were indications that there would be attacks on Sunday evening and they did not materialize," Jambon said. Otherwise, he said, "you don't impose terror level 4," the highest possible.

He refused to elaborate what kind of attacks the government believed had been planned.

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