World

French president agrees to Iraqi request for air support against Islamic State group

  • French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a press conference at the Elysee Palace, Thursday, Sept.18, 2014. Hollande gives wide-ranging news conference, as he comes under criticism from all sides over his handling of the economy, his government and his private life. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a press conference at the Elysee Palace, Thursday, Sept.18, 2014. Hollande gives wide-ranging news conference, as he comes under criticism from all sides over his handling of the economy, his government and his private life. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)  (The Associated Press)

  • French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a press conference at the Elysee Palace, Thursday, Sept.18, 2014. Hollande gives wide-ranging news conference, as he comes under criticism from all sides over his handling of the economy, his government and his private life. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    French President Francois Hollande delivers his speech during a press conference at the Elysee Palace, Thursday, Sept.18, 2014. Hollande gives wide-ranging news conference, as he comes under criticism from all sides over his handling of the economy, his government and his private life. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)  (The Associated Press)

France says it's agreed to provide air support requested by Iraq to support its fight against Islamic Stage fighters who've captured swathes of the country.

French President Francois Hollande said he agreed to Iraq's request for air support at a meeting of his top defense and security advisers earlier Thursday.

Speaking during his twice-yearly press conference, Hollande stressed that France would not go beyond providing air support, and would not strike in Syria, where the Islamic State group has also captured territory.

"This morning I decided to respond to the request of Iraqi authorities to provide air support," Hollande said. "We won't go beyond this. There won't be troops on the ground. And we will act only in Iraq."

Hollande said he would inform the parliament of the planned action "as soon as the first strikes — that is to say, soon."