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French anti-IS airstrikes will continue: Valls

In an interview on French TV, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has promised to "destroy" those behind the deadly attacks on Paris. He declared "we are at war," and vowed exceptional measures.

France will continue to participate in a US-led coalition on the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group in Syria, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls confirmed on Saturday.

Valls told TF1 television that French jets will maintain their level of airstrikes over Syria, after

the jihadist group claimed responsibility

for the

attacks on Paris that left 129 people dead.

"We are at war, and because we are at war we are taking exceptional measures," he said, adding that Paris would chase those behind the attacks in Europe but also in Syria and Iraq. "We will win this war," Valls vowed. Shortly afterwards, he repeated his comments on social media.

France joined the international fight against IS last year and

extended its campaign to Syria

in September.

French PM Manuel Valls

"We will win this war": Valls

Many of its airstrikes have hit IS training camps, which are reported to contain an estimated 600 French nationals who are fighting for the jihadist group.

IS specifically mentioned French aerial bombings in its online statement on Saturday in which it claimed responsibility for the attacks.

"The stench of death will not leave their noses as long as they remain at the forefront of the Crusaders' campaign, dare to curse our prophet, boast of a war on Islam in France, and strike Muslims in the lands of the caliphate with warplanes," the statement said.

Last week, French jets targeted an oil distribution center near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, which is controlled by IS militants.

France already has 12 jet fighters based in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan involved in the operations. Earlier this month, French President Francois Hollande announced that Paris would deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.

France has insisted that while it is part of the US-led coalition, Paris is deciding independently who and what to hit in Syria.

Last month, Hollande warned that French-groomed IS fighters could soon return from Syria and Iraq and "plant bombs in our country."

France has declared a state of emergency, put thousands of soldiers onto the streets and closed its borders in the wake of the country's worst-ever terror attack.

mm/cmk (AP, Reuters)

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