France’s Holland starts official visit to Iraq


BAGHDAD (AP) — French President Francois Hollande has arrived in Iraq amid a fierce fight against the Islamic State group.

During his one-day visit which started on Monday, Hollande is scheduled to meet with Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the capital, Baghdad. Later, he’ll travel to the country’s self-governing northern Kurdish region to meet French troops and local officials.

The visit comes as Iraqi troops, backed by the U.S.-led coalition, are fighting IS in a massive operation to retake the northern city of Mosul.

France is part of the U.S.-led international coalition formed in late 2014 to fight IS after the extremist group seized large areas in Iraq and neighboring Syria and declaring an Islamic “caliphate.” Like some European countries, France has suffered terrorist attacks claimed by IS.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU