Paris attack: France, US forces launch massive airstrike on ISIS stronghold in Raqqa

Airstrikes in Syria

London, Nov 16: France has carried out massive raids in Syria, their biggest to date, in co-ordination with US forces, striking the ISIS stronghold in Raqqa just days after the terror outfit carried a series of coordinated attacks that killed around 129 people.

According to reports, Raqqa is seen as the de facto capital of the Islamic State’s territory.

The Guardian report said the French defence ministry has claimed that the raid was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

The statement from the ministry reportedly said, “The raid, including 10 fighter jets, was launched simultaneously from the UAE and Jordan. Twenty bombs were dropped.”

The mission that was carried out last evening was carried out with the coordinated aid of forces by the US.

The airstrikes struck a command centre, recruitment centre for jihadists, a munitions depot, and a training camp for fighters. The sites targeted had previously been identified on reconnaissance flights.

The daily also reported that a defence official has claimed the raids to be ‘massive’ and that two jihadi strikes in Raqqa.

Earlier, French President Francois Hollande said the Paris attack were an act of war that that been organised, planned from the outside with ‘inside’ help and swore a merciless retribution.

Speaking on the first day of the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the decision to launch the airstrikes was an act of ‘self defence’.

US President Barack Obama, who also addressed the Summit on Sunday, said the Paris carnage was an attack on the civilised world and swore to assist France in every way to ‘hunt down’ the perpetrators.

Paris citizen identified in attacks

As French authorities search for clues to how three teams linked to Islamist radicals murdered 129 people in Paris, it emerged one of the killers was a citizen.

One suicide bomber was identified as Omar Ismail Mostefai, who was born on the outskirts of the French capital and probably spent a few months in Syria during 2013 and 2014, news agency Agence France-Presse reported, citing judicial and police sources. Police have arrested seven of his family members, AFP said.

Concerns over the radicalisation of members of France’s muslim population, Europe’s largest, will intensify if French citizens are found to have played a major role in the attacks. All three attackers in January’s Charlie Hebdo assaults, which killed 17 in Paris, were French-born.

In Belgium at least three people have been arrested in connection with the deadly attacks, local prosecutors said. Those raids followed French requests related to a rental car with Belgian plates found near Le Bataclan, according to Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office.

The country of about 11 million has the highest number of citizens fighting in Syria or Iraq of any western European state, the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalisation said earlier this year.

(With Agency Inputs)

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