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Hollande: France is 'at war' against terrorism

1 year 2 weeks 2 days ago November 18, 2015 Nov 18, 2015 Wednesday, November 18 2015 November 18, 2015 6:38 AM in News
Source: Associated Press / WBRZ

PARIS - French President Francois Hollande says France is 'at war' against terrorism by the Islamic State group.

Hollande says he wants "large coalition" working together against IS militants to destroy a group that threatens the whole world and "commits massacres" in the Mideast. He says the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle just left to help French military operations in Syria against IS.

Hollande was speaking in a televised address Wednesday after a seven-hour police siege on an apartment north of Paris where police suspected the mastermind of the deadly Paris attacks might have been.

The president also called for an extension to France's state of emergency. A bill to extend the emergency for three months includes a measure that enables authorities to close "any association or gathering" - which notably includes mosques and community groups- that would encourage people to carry out terrorist acts.

The bill is to be debated by both houses of Parliament on Thursday and Friday and expected to be voted on by the end of the week.

Hollande also said Wednesday France will not "cede to fear" and is urging his compatriots to go back out to cafes and museums and live life to its fullest. He says "what would our country be without its cafes, concerts, sport events, museums?"

Hollande was speaking to mayors from around the country Wednesday, after the country's deadliest violence in decades last week. The French leader says "life must resume in full," and is promising extra security to ensure that museums can reopen and "our tourists can be welcomed."

Hollande also said refugees should be welcomed into France. He said he is committed to taking in 30,000 new refugees over the next two years, and noted they are also victims of the same terror that hit Paris. He said refugees would still face rigorous security screenings, but France had a "humanitarian duty" to help them.

"Some people have tried to draw a connection between the movement of refugees from the Middle East and the terrorist threat," Hollande said. "This link exists because people from Iraq and Syria live in areas controlled by Islamic State and are killed by those who attack us."

Hollande also warned mayors and the French people against reprisals targeting the nation’s Muslim community.

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