French Airstrikes Hit Islamic State Bases in Syria
By Pierre Tran
A French Navy HawEye prepares to take off from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle operating in the Gulf on February 26, 2015. French warplanes carried out their first strikes on February 25, 2015 since the warship joined the fight against jihadists in Iraq. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS — French fighter jets today delivered two airstrikes against bases in Raqqa, Syria, operated by the Islamic State group in Raqqa, Syria, destroying a command center and a training camp for insurgents, the defense ministry said in a statement. The US forces helped with the missions.
The missions took place after the ISIS said it had ordered Friday's deadly Paris shootings and suicide bombings, which killed 129 and wounded more than 300. That It was the deadliest attack in France since the end of World War II Two.
The airstrikes under the French Chammal mission took place at 7:50 p.m. and 8:25 p.m. (Paris time), with the dispatch of 12 French planes, of which 10 were fighters, the ministry said.
"The two targets were destroyed," the ministry said. The fighters took off simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan and hit the targets with 20 bombs.
France conducted the mission in coordination with the US forces, with the strikes which drew on information gathered on previous reconnaissance missions, the ministry said. The first target served as a command center, recruitment, and stored weapons and ammunition, while the second site was a training post.
France, which bases Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighters in Jordan and UAE, began flying missions in September against the ISIS in Syria. The French Air Force initially flew reconnaissance missions, then some three or four airstrikes against oil plants seen as vital to funding the insurgents.
The Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is due to sail out of Toulon naval base on Wednesday, and head for the Arabian Gulf and support missions against the IS in Iraq and Syria.
French police have posted a public notice calling for information about Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old man born in Brussels, and suspected to have organized Friday's attack with two brothers in Belgium.