Germany answers France’s call to join anti-ISIL mission

Islamic Extremism

A ‘Tornado’ aircraft ‘ of the German Air Force photographed at the airbase in Jagel, Germany, Friday Dec. 4, 2015 . German lawmakers on Friday overwhelmingly approved a broad noncombat mission to aid the fight against Islamic State militants, including sending reconnaissance jets and a frigate following a call from France for support following last month’s deadly attacks in Paris. ( Carsten Rehder/ dpa via AP)

Germany stepped up its contribution to the fight against the ISIL on Friday, with lawmakers overwhelmingly voting in favor of sending reconnaissance jets, a tanker plane and a frigate to provide broad non-combat support to the U.S.-led coalition performing airstrikes against the militants.

The move answers a call for help from France following last month’s deadly attacks in Paris. ISIL militants claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds.

On Friday, Belgian and French authorities said they were hunting two new suspects possibly involved in the Paris carnage last month. The men used fake identity cards and sent money to a relative of the man who orchestrated the attacks the day before the ringleader died in a shootout with French police, the Belgian prosecutor’s office said.

The German Parliament voted 445 in support of the mission against ISIL and 146 against, with seven abstentions. The plan received wide support from the ranks of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, a week after the German leader assured French President Francois Hollande that Germany would “act quickly” to help its ally.

The 134 million-euro ($145 million) German mission will see two Tornado reconnaissance planes sent to Turkey’s Incirlik base as early as next week. The frigate is already en route to join French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.

Meanwhile, Hollande visited the Charles de Gaulle, France’s only aircraft carrier, in the eastern Mediterranean where it was dispatched a week before the Paris attacks. The French carrier has been launching raids against ISIL bases as part of the U.S.-led coalition’s strikes against the group — 110 sorties so far. It carries 2,000 people on board.

British jets flew their first missions as part of the coalition’s anti-IS efforts on Thursday, striking oil fields in eastern Syria that help finance ISIL.

On Friday, the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said authorities were searching for two new suspects in the Paris attacks.

The Associated Press