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French minister heads to Iraq amid Islamic State resurgence

French Defence Minister Florence Parly, wearing a protective face mask, leaves following the first weekly cabinet meeting after summer vacation break, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, August 26, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - French armed forces minister Florence Parly began a trip to Iraq on Thursday that the ministry said formed part of the country’s ongoing commitment to the fight against terrorism and its support for Iraq’s sovereignty.

“The minister for the armed forces is insistent upon the fact that Islamic State remains a serious challenge which we must continue to face up to. French airstrikes against isolated pockets of Islamic State have picked up in recent months,” the French armed forces ministry said in a statement.

Ministry officials said Paris was concerned by a resurgence in Iraq of the group, which is profiting from political uncertainty in the country and rivalries between Iran and the United States in the region.

Reporting by Jean-Philippe Lefief and John Irish; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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