France Launches Airstrikes Against Islamic State in Iraq
France says its fighter jets have successfully carried out the country’s first airstrikes against Islamic State insurgents inside Iraq.
The office of French President Francois Hollande said in a statement Friday that its Rafale jets launched a strike against a militant logistics depot, adding that it was destroyed completely.
France did not give the exact location of where it took place, but said there would be more operations in the coming days.
Hollande announced on Thursday that his country was ready to conduct airstrikes requested by Iraq once reconnaissance flights had identified targets. He has said the military operation would be limited to Iraq and would not include any ground troops.
President Barack Obama praised the French announcement, saying that “France is a strong partner in our efforts against terrorism.”
Obama also said Thursday that “more than 40 countries, including Arab nations,” have agreed to join the coalition against the Islamic State militants who have taken over parts of Syria and Iraq.
The United States already has launched more than 170 airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq. The U.S. says it is ready to carry out strikes against militant targets in Syria if necessary.
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 78 to 22 to authorize equipping and training moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State militants. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives had approved the legislation Wednesday. President Obama said the congressional approval shows the world that Americans are united in combating the militant group.