France pulls out military forces in Iraq amid virus demands

France is pulling out military forces from Iraq as the French military is increasingly called upon to help fight the new virus at home

PARIS -- France is pulling out its military forces from Iraq as French forces are increasingly called upon to help fight the coronavirus at home.

France, which has suffered repeated attacks on its soil by Islamic State extremists, is maintaining military operations in Kuwait and Qatar, and air force missions over Syria.

The announcement came just after French President Emmanuel Macron launched a special military operation to support efforts to treat people infected with the new virus.

France had almost 26,000 confirmed cases as of Wednesday and the fifth-largest number of virus-related deaths in the world at more than 1,300.