France′s Hollande: We′re at war | News | DW | 16.11.2015
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France's Hollande: We're at war

President Hollande has vowed to destroy IS, which means beefing up security forces and creating a broader international coalition against it. He spoke to a rare joint session of parliament following the Paris attacks.

French President Francois Hollande had some decisive words on Monday as he detailed the country's new counterterrorism strategy in the wake of Friday's deadly attacks in Paris. Speaking to a joint session of parliament, the first such speech since former leader Nicolas Sarkozy addressed lawmakers on the financial crisis in 2009, Hollande declared that "France is at war," and would rise to meet the challenge.

Hollande told "Islamic State" (IS) terrorists, who claimed responsibility for the violence that left 129 people dead in the French capital, that "the French republic has overcome other obstacles…those who attempted anything against us in history have lost."

After commending the response of security forces and offering some words in honor of the victims, the president announced that France would "intensify operations on Syria," and would create 5,000 new jobs in the police and security forces in the next two years.

A bill that would extend the state of emergency for three months will be presented to parliament on Wednesday, Hollande said, while also calling for a new law that would strip dual citizens caught with ties to terrorism of their French nationality.

While many allies attending the G20 summit in Turkey offered their solidarity and support, including a promise from US President Barack Obama to step up efforts against IS, Hollande asked for more: a "unique" international coalition of all countries who stand against IS, and a special UN resolution against the militant group.

Hollande to meet Obama, Putin

To advance this goal, Hollande said he would visit Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week and then Obama in Washington. While both countries have long been engaged in the fight against IS, their differences over the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has prevented a coordinated response.

Earlier on Monday, Obama, after vowing to bolster the US airstrikes against IS while eschewing the idea of sending ground troops, was among a number of politicians who warned against conflating the attackers with the influx of refugees now arriving in Europe, reminding the public that many of them are also fleeing IS violence.

"Slamming the doors in their faces would be a betrayal of our values," Obama said at the same time that several Republican governors vowed to keep Syrian refugees out of their states.

Manhunt expands in Belgium

The manhunt for individuals connected to the tragedy continued throughout Monday, focused mainly on Belgium, where the attacks were allegedly prepared. Belgian officials said that two people they arrested over the weekend have been charged with engaging in terrorism-related activities.

France's interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said that within French borders 23 individuals have been arrested since Friday, with 104 under house arrest pending investigation. France also began to release the details about some of the attackers, including their connection to IS militant Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who led a terrorist cell from the Belgian city of Verviers.

es/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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