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Hollande urges Germany to do more in IS fight

French President Francois Hollande

Paris: French President Francois Hollande has urged Germany to do more in the fight against Islamic State jihadists after he held talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel following the Paris attacks.

Hollande met his closest EU partner yesterday during a week of intense but so far faltering efforts by France to build a coalition to crush IS in its fiefdom in Iraq and Syria.

Hollande said he hoped Germany “can do even more in the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq”, using another term for IS, which claimed responsibility for the carnage in the French capital.

Merkel said in response she would act “swiftly” to see how Germany could take up “additional responsibilities” to assist in the fight against terror.

“We will be stronger than the terror,” she said.

In one step in that effort, Germany yesterday it would send 650 soldiers to Mali to provide some relief to French forces battling jihadists in the west African nation.

Earlier, Merkel and Hollande each laid a pink rose on the growing pile of tributes in Place de la Republique, the Paris square that has become a rallying point after the shootings and bombings that killed 130 people on November 13.

Having received few firm commitments from President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday, Hollande will take his plea for a counter-IS alliance to President Vladimir Putin in Moscow today.

Hollande and Merkel said they hoped tensions would calm between Russia and Turkey — two potential components of the anti-IS alliance — which fell out over the downing of a Russian warplane at the Turkish-Syrian border.

One of the Russian pilots insisted yesterday that the Turks gave no prior warning before launching the missile which brought down the plane on the Syrian border on Tuesday.

Russia accused Turkey of a “planned provocation”, but pledged it would not go to war over the issue.

The French parliament meanwhile gave overwhelming support for French air strikes on IS targets in Iraq and Syria to continue.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls told lawmakers: “There is no alternative, we must annihilate Daesh.”

French jets are taking off from its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean to bomb the jihadists.

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all 27 of France’s EU partners would help France’s efforts to strike at IS in some way.

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