France’s military conducted its first airstrike in Iraq, becoming the first foreign country in addition to the US to strike the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State (also ISIS or ISIL) in the country.
French President Francois Hollande said in a statement the strike, which was conducted around 9:40 a.m. local time Friday, destroyed a logistics depot held by ISIS in northeastern Iraq. He promised more operations would continue “in the coming days.”
Rafale fighter jets “conducted a first strike against a supply depot terrorist organisation Daech in north-eastern Iraq. The goal was reached and destroyed,” Hollande said.
“Daech” is a way the French government refers to ISIS, loosely meaning the “declaration of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.”
US President Barack Obama “welcomed” Hollande’s decision to carry out airstrikes against the group in Iraq, the White House said Thursday.
“The United States welcomes the announcement today from President Hollande that France will conduct airstrikes in Iraq,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “This is a significant contribution to the efforts of the growing international coalition to combat ISIL, and we look forward to coordinating closely with our French partners in the days to come.”
US officials have said more than 40 countries have offered to contribute support to the campaign against ISIS through a variety of methods.
During a press conference on Thursday, however, Hollande said his military’s efforts would be limited to Iraq and that he would not participate in the anticipated US campaign to carry out strikes against ISIS in Syria.
The US military has conducted more than 175 airstrikes in Iraq since Aug. 8, according to US Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East. On Thursday, the US conducted an airstrike against an ISIS training camp for the first time. CENTCOM said the strike destroyed an “armed vehicle, two ISIL-occupied buildings, and a large ISIL ground unit.”
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