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France admits military flights over Libya

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France announced conducting air reconnaissance missions in late November around the Libyan city of Sirte, which Islamic State group (IS) controls.

A press release from the French government said “Other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights are also planned,”

This is the first time the French government has admitted to carrying out operations over the IS zones in Libya. France is a member of the international ally fighting the IS group in Iraq and Syria.

France has intensified air strikes against the IS in Syria, following the attack by the IS followers in Paris which killed 130 persons.

Around 3,500 French troops are deployed across West Africa, including near the southern border of Libya, originally deployed to counter an Islamist insurgency in Mali.

“Libya worries me because Daesh (IS) has installed itself by taking advantage of local rivalries”, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on 22 November.

“If we can unite those forces against Daesh (IS), it will no longer exist as they have sufficient military means.”

The IS has gained ground in some Libyan cities benefiting from the political vacuum, while Libyan rivals vie for power since toppling president Gaddafi in 2011.