MOSUL, Iraq, Sept. 30 (UPI) — French fighter jets on Friday began launching attacks against the Islamic State in Iraq from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean Sea as the battle for Mosul looms.
Rafale fighters have been targeting IS positions in Mosul, RTL reported.
In Friday’s missions, 24 aircraft each armed with four 550-pound laser-guided bombs will participate in bombing the Islamic State’s positions in Mosul. The Charles de Gaulle carrier is a 850-foot, 38,000-ton ship powered by two nuclear reactors with a crew of more than 1,900 people.
The Charles de Gaulle set sail earlier this month after France’s Ministry of Defense announced it would deploy artillery forces and the aircraft carrier to support Iraqi security forces in their fight for the city of Mosul against the Islamic State.
France was the first nation to join the United States in carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State in 2014.
The Islamic State launched an attack in Paris in November in which 130 people were killed. Ten months earlier, militants pledging allegiance to the terror group targeted French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, killing 17 people.
Iraqi security forces launched an offensive to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State in March, supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. Mosul is considered a key battle in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq. U.S. President Barack Obama said he expects the city of Mosul to be retaken by the Iraqi government by the end of the year.