France Hits Back, Launches Air Attack on IS

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Paris: French warplanes launched air attack on late Sunday on targets in Raqqa, Syria – the Islamic State’s de facto capital – after coordination with U.S. defense officials who helped with the targeting.

The French Defense Ministry said that 10 aircraft dropped 20 bombs on facilities used by the militant group, which has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack striking a command center, a militant-training facility and an arms depot.

In its first air strike yesterday against IS since the string of deadly Paris attacks claimed by the jihadist group, 12 warplanes, including 10 fighter bombers, dropped 20 bombs on the targets.

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“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. They said the strikes had knocked out electricity in the city of about 200,000 people.

American officials, speaking at the G20 summit here that President Barack Obama is attending, said the French operation was discussed between the two militaries, as well as in telephone calls Saturday and Sunday between Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and his French counterpart. U.S. planes have repeatedly struck in and around Raqqa, in north-central Syria, in recent months.

In Iraq on Sunday, foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Iraqi intelligence had obtained information before the Paris attacks that the Islamic State was planning an imminent terrorist attack overseas that may have been targeting “in particular” France, the United States and Iran.

“We notified these countries and warned them,” Jaafari said in a statement. The statement did not include specifics of when the Iraqis acquired the information. U.S. intelligence officials did not confirm the report.