Members of the Mehdi Army, loyal to radical influential leader Muqtada al-Sadr, clash with ISIS militants outside the city of Tikrit September 8, 2014. (REUTERS/Stringer)
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France will join the U.S.-led airstrikes targeting extremists in Iraq as part of an expanding international effort to combat the ISIS group, Iraq's new prime minister said after talks with the French president Friday.Hollande's trip, and a conference that Paris is hosting Monday on Iraq, are the first steps in a long-term effort against ISIS militants who have captured large swaths of land straddling the Syria-Iraq border with the goal of establishing a self-styled caliphate.The airstrikes marked a significant shift in the U.S. strategy in Iraq, where the military fully withdrew in late 2011, after nearly a decade of war.Hollande's visit to Baghdad is the French president's first visit to Iraq since the crisis escalated with ISIS's blitz and the fall of Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, in June.
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