French jets pound ISIS stronghold in Syria

French army Rafale fighter jets flying towards Syria as part of France's Operation Chammal launched in September 2015.

French army Rafale fighter jets flying towards Syria as part of France’s Operation Chammal launched in September 2015.


French fighter jets launched their biggest raids in Syria to date targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stronghold in Raqqa just two days after the group claimed coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people, the defence ministry said.

“The raid … including 10 fighter jets, was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Twenty bombs were dropped,” the statement said, adding that the mission had taken place this evening.

The operation, carried out in coordination with U.S. forces, struck a command center, recruitment center for extremists, a munitions depot and a training camp for fighters, it said.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for Friday’s suicide bombings and shootings, which have re-ignited a row over Europe’s refugee crisis and drawn calls to block huge arrivals of Muslim asylum-seekers.

French police have launched an international hunt for a Belgian-born man they believe helped organize the assaults with two of his brothers. One of the brothers died in the attacks, while the second one is under arrest in Belgium, a judicial source said.

A further two French suicide attackers have been identified, police said, while the identity of four other assailants, who all died in the violence, was still under review.

France has been bombing ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria for months as part of a U.S.-led operation. Following Friday’s mayhem, Paris vowed to destroy the group. Underlining its resolve, French jets on Sunday launched their biggest raids in Syria to date, hitting its stronghold in Raqqa.

There was no word on casualties or the damage inflicted.


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