Combat aircraft took off Friday of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle for operations against the Islamic State group
These actions are carried out for the battle to retake Mosul, a stronghold of the jihadists in Iraq, said an officer on board.
Eight Rafale fighter aircraft left at 8am local time (05: 00 GMT) from the ship deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean, according to an AFP photographer. This is the third mission of the Charles de Gaulle in the international coalition anti-Islamic State (IS) led by the United States since February 2015.
No details were given about the nature of their mission, these devices can operate keystrokes or make recognition.
Third mission against the Daech
This is the third Charles de Gaulle’s involvement in the anti-IS international coalition led by the United States since February 2015.
The only French aircraft carrier, which carries 24 Rafale, two Hawkeye air lookout planes and four helicopters, had sailed from Toulon on September 20th.
The contribution of Charles de Gaulle can now triple the capacity of French air strikes in the region, where 12 Rafale are already stationed in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
The mission of the aircraft is scheduled “to late October to late September” , according to Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. This is his last deployment before a major technical judgment of 18 months from the beginning of 2017.
The ship will “strengthen our intelligence capabilities” and “improve the information of the forces that will be brought back to the territory of Mosul” in northern Iraq, according to the minister. Several Western officials have suggested that the offensive could be launched in October, with the aim to reclaim the city by the end of the year.
857 strikes since 2014
Since its entry into action against IS in September 2014, the French Air Force conducted 857 strikes and destroyed 1,468 targets since taking action against IS in September 2014, according to the staff.
With about 5% of total coalition strikes (15 310) it is one of the main contributors to Islamic State anti-air operations, however is far behind the United States (11 830).
About 4 000 French soldiers are now deployed in the region between the carrier and its protective armada (2900 men), air bases in Jordan and the UAE (500) and military instructors in Iraq (500).
The French army has deployed four Caesar artillery guns on Air Base Qayyarah (65 km south of Mosul), late recovery in August by Iraqi forces and destined to become a logistics-hub during the offensive on Mosul .
This artillery detachment should “provide support to the progress of Iraqi forces who are 60 or 80 km from Mosul and contribute to the encircling maneuver of the city”, said the defense minister. “But in any case, the 150 to 180 soldiers present will participate in direct action initiatives on Mosul “, he assured.