First French Air Strikes Against Islamic State Destroy Supply Depot
France’s first air strikes against targets of Islamic State militants have destroyed a logistics depot of the jihadist fighters in northern Iraq.
French President Francois Hollande said in a statement late on Friday Rafale fighter jets “hit and completely destroyed” the logistics depot and other operations will follow in the coming days.
A Iraqi military spokesman said four airstrikes hit the town of Zumar, killing dozens of extremist fighters.
US President Barack Obama has been seeking to rally broad international backing to counter the extremist group. The US-led effort has received wide-ranging pledges of support, but France is the first to join the United States in conducting airstrikes to help Iraqi and Kurdish security forces fight the Islamist group.
At a news conference on Thursday, Hollande said France would respond to the request of the Iraqi authorities to offer “aerial support” to the Iraqi army in their fight against the militant group which holds nearly half of the country.
The French President made it clear that unlike the United States, which has vowed to attack Islamic State targets even in Syria where the jihadists have taken over about a quarter of the country’s territory, French involvement would be limited to Iraq.
"We will not go further than that. There will be no ground troops and we will only intervene in Iraq," he said.
In addition to conducting air strikes agains IS targets France is already carrying out reconnaissance flights over Iraq and providing weapons to Kurdish fighters.
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