France launches new wave of air strikes on IS group targets in Syria’s Raqqa
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France on Sunday launched a fresh wave of air strikes targeting the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, destroying an arms depot and combat positions in the group’s stronghold of Raqqa, the French foreign ministry said.
In a statement, the ministry said four Rafale and four Mirage 2000 fighter jets as well as an Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft had been used during the August 21 operation. About a dozen cruise missiles hit several targets in the heart of the northern Syrian city, including an IS group heavy weaponry depot.
“These strikes destroyed a number of combat positions, arm caches and manufacturing sites of explosives and heavy weaponry,” the statement said.
The latest air strikes wrap up an already intense week of French air raids on the IS group as part of the US-led coalition’s efforts to back Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting the militants near Mosul in Iraq.
“It’s not something we announce every day, but since we are part of the coalition, we’re hitting [IS group targets] every day,” French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
“To strike in Mosul, to strike in Iraq, is also a way of ensuring our security in France, and even in all of Europe.”
Since France joined the anti-IS group coalition in 2014, it has carried out close to 800 air raids in Syria and Iraq, meaning it is tailing only the US in the number of air strikes carried out.