BAGHDAD – French President Francois Hollande is visiting Iraq as his country prepares possible airstrikes with a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State extremists who have seized territory around the region.
French radio says Hollande landed in Baghdad on Friday morning. He and his defense and foreign ministers are to meet Iraq's new prime minister and president.
Hollande and Iraqi officials are expected to discuss possible French airstrikes on Islamic State targets. If the Iraqi government requests such action, French strikes could start very soon, in coordination with the United States.
Hollande's visit and a conference that Paris is hosting next week on Iraq are the first steps by France in a long-term effort to bolster the Iraqi government and weaken militants from the Islamic State group.