November 16, 2015 / 4:07 AM / 2 years ago

U.S., France agree on concrete steps in fight against Islamic State

Nov 15, 2015; New York, NY, USA; A moment of silence is held prior to the Toronto Maple Leafs taking on the New York Rangers for the victims of the terrorist acts in France at an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and France agreed on concrete steps to ramp up the fight against Islamic State during a phone call between U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Pentagon said in a statement on Sunday.

"They agreed on concrete steps the U.S. and French militaries should take to further intensify our close cooperation in prosecuting a sustained campaign against (Islamic State)," Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

Carter reiterated the United States was committed to supporting France and moving together, he said, to make sure Islamic States is "dealt a lasting defeat."

On Friday night, several sites around Paris were targeted in a coordinated assault by gunmen and bombers in what the Paris public prosecutor said killed 129 people. Islamic State on Saturday claimed responsibility for the attacks.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said France could announce steps to intensify its role in the air campaign. Both countries may also announce greater collaboration on intelligence sharing.

Even before the Paris attacks, France had said its sole aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, would be deployed to the Middle East, arriving on Nov. 18.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Krista Hughes; Editing by Leslie Adler and Nick Zieminski

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