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Hollande: IS Battle Prevents Attacks At Home


French President Francois Hollande reviews French soldiers at the Iraqi Counterterrorism Service Academy in Baghdad on January 2.

French President Francois Hollande has told French soldiers in Iraq that their work against the extremist group Islamic State (IS) is preventing attacks at home.

"Taking action against terrorism here in Iraq is also preventing acts of terrorism on our own soil," Hollande said at a base where French soldiers have been training elite Iraqi forces.

Hollande arrived in Baghdad on January 2, becoming the most prominent head of state to visit Iraq since the U.S.-led, anti-IS coalition was formed 2 1/2 years ago.

He met with Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, and called for reconciliation and unity after IS is defeated.

Later he traveled to the northern Kurdish region where he met with French troops and local officials.

French aircraft have carried out about 1,000 strikes against suspected IS targets. France has 500 soldiers advising Iraqi forces trying to recapture the city of Mosul.

In addition, it maintains 14 Rafale fighter jets in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, and AP