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John Kerry leads anti-Islamic State coalition talks in London

Foreign ministers from the international coalition against the Islamic State group gather for talks in London on Thursday, with the threat posed by foreign fighters in focus following jihadist attacks in France.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond are co-hosting talks involving 21 of the 60-odd countries that are working together to tackle the militant IS group based in Syria and Iraq.

It will be the first time the US-led coalition has met since this month`s Paris attacks that left 17 dead.

“Terrorists want to drive us apart, but in fact their actions have had the opposite effect, they`re bringing us together… with greater determination, greater resolve to be able to get the job done. And that is precisely what we`re going to talk about in London,” Kerry said.

“We need to move ahead on every single front, militarily, but also through law enforcement, through intelligence sharing, by attacking the root causes so that terrorist appeals fall flat and foreign recruits are no longer enticed to go a place and wreak havoc on it.”

A US state department official said foreign fighters would be a “real focus” of the meeting and that an expert working group would be formed on sharing information to stop militants travelling.

Twelve people were killed in a shooting at French magazine Charlie Hebdo this month by gunmen affiliated with Al-Qaeda, while a third attacker who shot dead a policewoman and attacked a Jewish supermarket, killing four, claimed he was working on behalf of IS.

The attacks rekindled fears about the dangers posed by well-trained jihadists returning from foreign battlefields.

European police agency Europol estimates up to 5,000 EU citizens have gone to join the ranks of militants in Syria and Iraq.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the attacks in France “were a little bit like our own 9/11”, hitting at “symbols of our culture, of our values, like the media freedom, the police, the Jewish community”.

“The meeting tomorrow will be that… of a partnership, a partnership that unites us all against a phenomenon that is brutally devastating societies all over starting with the Arab countries,” Mogherini added.

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