Hollande, Cameron visit Bataclan concert hall in Paris; Cameron says convinced UK must strike ISIS in Syria

People gather in front of the Bataclan theatre in Paris on Nov 22, 2015.
People gather in front of the Bataclan theatre in Paris on Nov 22, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP, REUTERS) - British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande on Monday (Nov 23) visited the Bataclan concert hall in Paris where 90 people were killed by terrorist attackers, before holding talks on the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which claimed the attacks.

Cameron said on his Twitter account he had stood "shoulder to shoulder" to Hollande at the venue, where a British man was among the dead on Nov 13.

The two leaders went on to have talks at the Elysee Palace after which Cameron said he was convinced the UK should carry out military air strikes alongside France and other partners in Syria in an effort to defeat ISIS.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Hollande, Cameron also said he had offered France use of a British airbase in Cyprus as well as additional assistance with air-to-air refueling. 

“Later this week I will set out in parliament our comprehensive strategy for tackling ISIL (Islamic State),” Cameron told the joint news conference.

“I firmly support the action that President Hollande has taken to strike ISIL in Syria and it is my firm conviction that Britain should do so too.”

The UK prime minister added that he would step up efforts to share intelligence with France and other European partners, adding that he planned to present a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS to parliament later this week. In an article in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, he wrote that the Paris attacks showed that ISIS “is not some remote problem thousands of miles away; it is a direct threat to our security”. 

Hollande said that France planned to intensify its air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria. 

“We will intensify our strikes, choosing targets that will do the most damage possible to this army of terrorists,” Hollande said as he kicked off a week of diplomatic efforts to rally support to crush the group that claimed the devastating Paris attacks.