French special forces in Iraq are secretly hunting down and killing French nationals who have joined ISIS's senior ranks with the help of Iraqi soldiers, The Wall Street Journal reported.
France is doing so to ensure those nationals never return to carry out a terrorist attack as the country has been the target of several deadly incidents, including the Paris strikes in 2015 that left more than 100 dead after six separate attacks.
"French forces work in close cooperation with their Iraqi and international partners . . . regardless of national origin," said a French Ministry of Defense spokeswoman who declined to comment more specifically on the operation.
At least 27 French nationals are being sought as high-value targets and an undisclosed number have already been killed using intelligence supplied by the French. About 1,700 Frenchmen have joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the Journal reported, but hundreds now have either died from fighting or have returned back home.
"They are dealing with them here, because they don't want to deal with them at home," a senior Iraqi counterterrorism officer directly involved in coordinating with the French special forces told the WSJ. "It's their duty. It's common sense. The most lethal attacks overseas were in France."
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