France deploys 160 soldiers in Iraq amid tensions over Soleimani’s killing: Defence Minister

French Defense Minister Florence Parly attends a news conference in Paris, France, November 26, 2019 after thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when their helicopters collided at low altitude as they swooped in to support ground forces engaged in combat with Islamist militants. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States, France has stepped up its security in Iraq to ensure safety of its troops deployed in the region. French Defence Minister Florence Parly in a series of tweets said that France will continue to act as a “force of balance” in the region and asserted that it is essential to ease tensions that have escalated following the killing of Iranian Quds Force chief Qaseem Soleimani in Iraq.

Parly also said that priority should be given to fighting the Islamic States. “The priority today is the same as yesterday and must be that of tomorrow: to fight against Daesh (IS), its resurgence on the ground in the Levant, its propaganda on the internet…This is why the easing of tensions in Iraq and in the region is essential: the international anti-Daesh coalition must be able to continue its mission.” tweeted Parly.”After the events in Baghdad, as of last Friday, we have strengthened the level of protection of our 160 French soldiers deployed in Iraq. Everything is done to ensure their safety,” She further tweeted.

On Friday, the US had carried out a predawn strike near Baghdad’s international airport killing Soleimani, a US-designated terrorist, along with six others on the direction of President Donald Trump.’ Infuriated by the killing of Soleimani, Iran has vowed to take revenge. The United States has also said that it will also attack Iran if the country will target the US.

Iraq has also condemned the strike and its parliament has passed a resolution asking the US-led coalition to suspend all the defence operations and leave the country. The NATO Iraq mission was formed in 2018 after three years of war against ISIL fighters and is made up of several hundred trainers, advisers and support staff from both countries of the 29-member alliance and non-NATO partner countries includes military and civilian personnel.


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