The French Parliament has voted to continue and extend airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State group after deadly attacks in and around Paris killed 17 people, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. The vote, made by the lower house of Parliament, came hours after Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said ISIS must be “wiped out.”
France is second only to the United States in the amount of forces fighting the militants also known as ISIS in Iraq and Syria, according to teleSUR TV of Venezuela. Votes to authorize airstrikes must be conducted every four months. “Islamic State is a terrorist army with fighters from everywhere. … It is an international army that has to be wiped out, and that is why we are part of the coalition,” Le Drian said.
France began launching airstrikes in Iraq in September as one of the U.S.’ first allies to strike, the BBC reported. Currently, France has 800 military personnel, nine fighter jets, a maritime patrol aircraft and a refueling plane for its Iraq mission in the United Arab Emirates, Today newspaper of Singapore reported. U.S. personnel are expected to grow to 3,000 from 1,800 within the next few weeks, according to the New York Times.
Tensions have remained dangerously high in France following a slew of attacks that killed a total of 17 people, starting with the Charlie Hebdo magazine massacre on Wednesday. That was followed by the shooting of a cop on patrol and an attack at a kosher grocery store.
"France is at war against radical Islam," Prime Minister Manuel Valls told the National Assembly before the vote, according to the AP. "France is not at war against Islam."