France ready to participate in Iraq airstrikes

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PARIS (AP) - France's foreign minister said Wednesday his country is ready to take part in airstrikes against extremist fighters in Iraq if needed.

Laurent Fabius called for international mobilization against "this transnational danger that could reach all the way to our soil."

He spoke in Paris before President Barack Obama is expected to outline Washington's plans for fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

France has said it would join a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and is sending arms to Kurdish authorities to fight the militants. The French president and foreign minister are going to Iraq on Friday and hosting an international conference Monday on how to stop the group and help Iraq.

Fabius said in a speech in Paris that "we will participate, if necessary, in military air action" in Iraq, according to a text provided by the French Foreign Ministry.

Earlier, Fabius said people should stop referring to the extremists as the Islamic State group, arguing that they do not represent Islam or a state.

Fabius referred to the group Wednesday as Daesh, the acronym in Arabic for its full former name, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Speaking to lawmakers, Fabius said "the determination of the Daesh butchers is strong. Ours must be even stronger."

Egypt's top Islamic authority also argues the group should not be called Islamic State.

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