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France air strikes 'neutralise' 50 IS fighters in Iraq: Army

AFP , Thursday 5 Feb 2015
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French fighter jets have "neutralised" 50 Islamic State group militants, along with several vehicles in recent days in Iraq, the army said in a statement on Thursday.

The vehicles were destroyed in an unplanned "opportunistic strike" on Wednesday, the statement on the past week's operations said.

On January 30, during a reconnaissance mission between Mosul, Kirkuk and Baiji, French pilots spotted a group of around 150 IS combatants positioned against Kurdish forces.

Around 50 were "neutralised", the statement said, without clarifying whether they were killed or injured.

"On the same day and in the same zone, the aircraft struck a position that was firing on Iraqi forces," the statement added.

France launched Operation Chammal in support of the US-led coalition against IS in September.

It has nine Rafale and six Mirage fighters operating in Iraq from bases in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, along with a maritime patrol and a refuelling aircraft.

At a press conference on Thursday, President Francois Hollande said the mission to push back IS had been "too slow," and vowed that France would work "with more and more intensity".

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