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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

In Iraq, Hollande Thanks French Troops for Fighting Terror

By VOA News January 02, 2017

French President Francois Hollande vowed that Islamic State will soon be beaten. He spoke during a one-day visit to Iraq, the same day a suicide bomber struck a busy Baghdad market, killing at least 32 people.

"Daesh is retreating. And Daesh will be beaten," Hollande said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Hours after Holland arrived in Iraq on Monday, a bomb went off in a market in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad that was packed with day laborers. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

During a news conference with Hollande, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the suicide bomber pretended to be a man seeking to hire day laborers before detonating his bomb.

Holland also met with Iraqi President Fuad Masum and traveled to the autonomous northern area of Kurdistan to meet local officials.

He visited with French troops in Baghdad and in Kurdistan who are helping Iraq fight Islamic State, and told them their efforts are preventing terror attacks in their home country. "Taking action against terrorism here in Iraq is also preventing acts of terrorism on our own soil," Hollande said at a base of Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service near the capital, Baghdad.

France has executed thousands of airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria, as part of the U.S.-led coalition to fight the Islamic State group, and has provided equipment and training to the Iraqi military.

The French troops, about 500 in all, are believed to be participating in the campaign to oust IS militants from Mosul, the group's last major stronghold in Iraq.

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