GERMAN Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that Berlin will contribute up to 650 soldiers to the French-led operation against jihadists in Mali.
The move is aimed partly at providing some relief to France in its global fight against the Islamic State jihadists, according to German news agency DPA, quoting the minister following a parliamentary defence committee meeting.
Militants linked to al-Qaeda killed at least 20 people at a Radisson Blu hotel in the capital of Bamako last week.
At least 130 people were killed in Paris in Europe’s worst terrorist attacks late evening on November 13.
Islamic State (IS or ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack. France has ramped up airstrikes on IS targets in Iraq and Syria following the attack, and launched a massive manhunt for some of the assailants who are on the run and their accomplices.
Five of the terrorists were killed on the night of the attack.
French president Francois Hollande will travel to Moscow on Thursday to discuss joint anti-terrorism efforts with Russian President Vladimir Putin after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday in Washington.
Hollande’s U.S. visit was overshadowed by the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey. Merkel joined the U.S. in calling on Russia and Turkey to seek a de-escalation. “The shooting down of a Russian jet has further heightened the situation in Syria,” Merkel said.
-Additional reporting Bloomberg.