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France to provide Iraq air support

France has agreed to provide air support requested by Iraq in its fight against Islamic State (IS) fighters who have captured swathes of the country.

French president Francois Hollande said he agreed to Iraq's request for air support at a meeting of his top defence and security advisers.

Speaking during his twice-yearly press conference, Mr Hollande stressed that France would not go beyond providing air support, and would not strike in Syria, where the IS group has also captured territory.

"This morning I decided to respond to the request of Iraqi authorities to provide air support," Mr Hollande said. "We won't go beyond this. There won't be troops on the ground. And we will act only in Iraq."

Mr Hollande said he would inform the parliament of the planned action "as soon as the first strikes - that is to say, soon".

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