France said on Tuesday it was deploying artillery to Iraq and readying its aircraft carrier for deployment to reinforce foreign military support for the Iraqi army’s expected push to recapture Mosul, the de facto capital of Islamic State in Iraq.

The Iraqi army and its elite units have gradually taken up positions around the city 400 km (248 miles) north of Baghdad, with international coalition forces keen to capitalise on the militant group’s loss of territory in both Iraq and Syria.

“We decided to bolster our support of the Iraqi forces this Autumn with the aim of recapturing Mosul,” French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a gathering of defence and military officials in Paris.

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