World

France boosts military presence in Persian Gulf amid fight against Islamic State group

  • French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian walks in the lobby of the Elysee Palace on his way to a special defense meeting, on the country's mission against the Islamic State group, with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian walks in the lobby of the Elysee Palace on his way to a special defense meeting, on the country's mission against the Islamic State group, with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)  (The Associated Press)

  • French Prime Minister Manuel Valls walks in the lobby of the Elysee Palace on his way to a special defense meeting, on the country's mission against the Islamic State group, with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

    French Prime Minister Manuel Valls walks in the lobby of the Elysee Palace on his way to a special defense meeting, on the country's mission against the Islamic State group, with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)  (The Associated Press)

  • French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, left, speaks with French Chief of Staff General Pierre de Villiers, as they leave the Elysee Palace following a special defense meeting,  on the country's mission against the Islamic State group, with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

    French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, left, speaks with French Chief of Staff General Pierre de Villiers, as they leave the Elysee Palace following a special defense meeting, on the country's mission against the Islamic State group, with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)  (The Associated Press)

France is deploying an anti-aircraft frigate and more fighter jets in the Persian Gulf region to boost its ability to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that three Rafale jets will shortly join six others already based at a French air base outside Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It said French military liaison officers will also join allied command structures in the region.

Acting on a request from Iraqi authorities, France has conducted two sets of airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq since Sept. 19 — the first foreign country to join the United States in conducting such strikes in Iraq.

France is not participating in U.S.-led airstrikes in neighboring Syria, where the group is also active.