French fighter jets have launched ferocious and massive air strikes late Sunday on targets in Raqqa, Syria- the ISIS’ de facto capital in coordination with US following the deadly Paris attacks on Friday.
The French Defense Ministry said that 10 aircraft dropped 20 bombs on the militant group’s facilities and destroyed a command centre, recruitment centre for jihadists, a munitions depot and a training camp for fighters.
“The raid … including 10 fighter jets, was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Twenty bombs were dropped,’ the official statement said.
No civilian casualties have been sustained in the Raqqa bombings suggests activists inside Syria. Electricity and water supply have been cut due to the air strikes. Opposition activists however counted 30 bombs; hitting a local football stadium, a museum and medical facilities among other things.
American officials attending the G20 summit said that the French operation was discussed between the two countries both in telephonic conversation on Saturday and Sunday as well as between Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
French police have launched a massive manhunt for Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old born in Brussels, across Europe in connection with the Paris attacks on Friday. He is believed to have played a key role in planning the deadly operations. “Do not intervene yourself,” his warrant says. His brother Ibrahim was one of the seven suicide bombers in the terror attacks.
Meanwhile, senior Iraqi officials revealed that France, the United States and Iran had been warned on Thursday of an imminent terror attack.
An Iraqi intelligence dispatch warned that Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had ordered his followers to immediately launch gun and bomb attacks and take hostages inside the countries of the coalition fighting them in Iraq and Syria.
The dispatch though provided no details of when and where the attack would take place. However, the Iraqi officials claim that they did mention specific details: among them that the attackers were trained for this operation and sent back to France from Raqqa. The team of 24 people; 19 attackers and five others in charge of logistics and planning then met with a sleeper cell in France after their training who helped the attackers execute the plan according to Iraqi officials. US intelligence officials however did not confirm the report.
According to US national security adviser Benjamin Rhodes, Obama agreed with French President Francois Hollande that the attacks were “an act of war”.
The Friday terror attacks on several locations in Paris have stunned the world evoking strong response against the ISIS. President Hollande has declared that France would lead a “merciless” fight against the Islamic State.