MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - The United States welcomed French President Francois Hollande's announcement that France will carry out airstrikes in Iraq, calling it a significant contribution to the ongoing combat with the Islamic State (IS), White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at a briefing Thursday.
"The United States welcomes the announcement today from President Hollande that France will conduct airstrikes in Iraq. This is a significant contribution to the efforts of the growing international coalition to combat ISIL. And we look forward to coordinating closely with our French partners in the days to come," Earnest said.
According to the press secretary, the United States and France will closely coordinate their efforts. The French president said France was ready to conduct airstrikes, but would not send ground troops to the region.
Earlier, the United States already conducted a series of airstrikes to hamper the advance of IS militants. US President Barack Obama has also announced his strategy for defeating the extremists, which includes the creation of a broad international anti-IS coalition.
The IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni jihadi group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.