Hollande vows to ‘destroy’ IS

France is committed to “destroying” the so-called Islamic State group after Friday’s deadly attacks, President Francois Hollande has said.

He said he would table a bill to extend the state of emergency declared after the attacks for three months and would suggest changes to the constitution.

France’s military campaign against IS in Iraq and Syria will also intensify.

IS says it carried out the attacks on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and a stadium in which 129 people died.

Speaking during a joint session of both houses of parliament, Mr Hollande said the constitution needed to be amended as “we need an appropriate tool we can use without having to resort to the state of emergency”.

Other measures he said would be pursued included:

  • 5,000 extra police posts in the next two years and no new cuts in the defence budget
  • Making it easier to strip dual nationals of their French citizenship if they are convicted of a terrorist offence, as long as this did not render them stateless
  • Speeding up the deportation of foreigners who pose “a particularly grave threat to the security of the nation”
  • Pushing for greater European action against arms trafficking and greater penalties for it in France

Mr Hollande said he would travel to meet US President Barack Obama and Russian Vladimir Putin in the coming days to discuss action against the group.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on Monday evening to show support for “America’s oldest friend” against what he called “psychopathic monsters”.

At a G20 summit in Turkey, world leaders promised tighter co-operation in the wake of the attacks.

Mr Obama said the US and France had made a new agreement on intelligence sharing but said US military advisers thought sending ground troops to combat Isis would be a mistake.

In his address, Mr Hollande reiterated his opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remaining in power but said “our enemy in Syria is Daesh [IS]”.

He promised more resources for the security forces and said the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier would be sent on Thursday to bolster the military campaign against IS.

On Sunday night, French aircraft attacked Raqqa, IS’s stronghold in Syria. French officials said 10 jets had dropped 20 guided bombs targeting sites including a command centre, a recruitment centre for jihadists, a munitions depot and a training camp.

IS has issued a statement saying the raid targeted empty locations and that there were no casualties.

Authorities say that one of the attackers was the same man who used a Syrian passport in the name of Ahmad al-Mohammad and whose fingerprints match those taken by the Greek authorities after he arrived with migrants on the island of Leros in October.

One Greek official on the island told the BBC that the man had aroused suspicion when he arrived and said that more highly trained intelligence officers might have been able to apprehend him.

As well as the attackers themselves, investigators are also reported to be focusing on a Belgian of Moroccan descent who is described as the possible mastermind of the attacks.

Abdelhamid Abaoud, 27, lived in the Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels, as did two of the attackers, and is now believed to be based in Syria, where he has risen through the ranks of IS.

In the early hours of Monday, a total of 23 people were arrested, 104 put under house arrest, and dozens of weapons seized in more than 168 raids on suspected Islamist militants across France.

Belgian police say two people arrested on Saturday were charged on Monday with “participating in a terrorist attack”.

They were among seven people detained in Belgium at the weekend.

Five of them were later released, including Mohammed Abdeslam, the brother of two suspects – Brahim Abdeslam, killed during the attacks, and Salah Abdeslam, who is on the run.

Source: BBC