French fighter jets on Sunday bombarded the Syrian city of Raqqa — a major stronghold and self-declared capital of the radical Islamic State group — destroying a command post and a training camp, France’s Defense Ministry said.
According to AFP, 12 warplanes, including 10 fighter bombers, dropped 20 bombs on the targets.
“The first target destroyed was used by Daesh (another Arabic acronym for IS) as a command post, jihadist recruitment centre and arms and munitions depot. The second held a terrorist training camp,” a ministry statement said.
The planes left from Jordan and the United Arab Emirates and was conducted in coordination with American forces, the ministry said.
The airstrike comes two days after French President Francois Hollande vowed to attack the Islamic State group without mercy as the jihadist group admitted responsibility Saturday for orchestrating the deadliest attacks on France since World War II.
In response to the deadly Paris attacks, the French military has deployed a further 1,000 troops to ensure safety on the capital’s streets. The military deployment comes amid French Defense Ministry’s promises to revise national security strategy.
Parisians have become accustomed to living alongside soldiers in their city since the launch of Operation Sentinelle in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, which killed 17 people.
However, following the Friday 13 massacre that killed 129 people, the French military boosted its presence in the capital with 1,000 additional troops who were deployed within 48 hours of the coordinated terror acts.
A total of 5,000 soldiers are currently patrolling Paris and its suburbs, with additional reinforcements due to arrive by Wednesday.
The military are and will be deployed throughout the city, as a state of emergency, declared by President Francois Hollande on Friday night, continues across France. Following the attacks, the French leader ordered an additional deployment of 1,500 military officers in Paris.
“On the national territory, as in external operations, the French army is engaged in the fight against Daesh [Islamic State]. All measures are taken to protect our citizens against terrorist groups. The Sentinelle operation is strengthened by additional staff since November 14, from all over France,” the Ministry of Defense said.
France is now looking to revise its national security strategy to better respond to terror attacks by using its armed forces at home.
On Sunday, the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls pledged to deploy 10,000 soldiers throughout France, to supplement the 7,000 troops, which have already been deployed since the January Charlie Hebdo attacks.
Meanwhile, the French forces have intensified their anti-Islamic State efforts in Syria by launching the biggest air raid to date targeting terrorist positions in Raqqa.
France has carried out a massive airstrike on an Islamic State stronghold in Raqqa, Syria. It struck dozen’s of targets including a command and control center, training camp and munitions warehouse, the country’s defense ministry announced.
Twelve French aircraft, including 10 fighter jets, took part in the country’s biggest air raid in Syria, the statement from the defense ministry read.
The strike, coordinated with the United States, was carried out simultaneously from Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
“The first target destroyed was used by Daesh (a derogatory Arabic acronym for IS) as a command post, jihadist recruitment center and arms and munitions depot. The second held a terrorist training camp,” a ministry statement said, adding that in total some 20 bombs were dropped in the raid.
The air raid on the terrorist positions comes on the heels of series of horrific attacks in the French capital, which claimed at least 129 lives and injured hundreds more on Friday. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the barbaric attacks in Paris, while the French government has vowed to battle the terrorist group mercilessly.
Following the wave of terror in Paris, US intelligence services have expanded their data sharing with France and have begun providing “targeting packages” on Islamic State position, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Sunday.
The allies have agreed on “concrete steps the US and French militaries should take to further intensify our close cooperation in prosecuting a sustained campaign” against IS, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement, following a phone call between US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and the French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian.