Latest: France strikes ISIS in Iraq from newly-deployed carrier

A French Rafale jet fighter lands on the aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle on Sunday.
A French Rafale jet fighter lands on the aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle on Sunday. PHOTO: AFP

ABOARD CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRCRAFT CARRIER (AFP) - French fighter jets took off on Monday (Nov 23) from the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier, newly deployed to the eastern Mediterranean, in an operation against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), military sources said.

"We carried out strikes in Ramadi and Mosul in support of ground forces that were pushing against troops of (ISIS)," said army chief of staff General Pierre de Villiers, aboard the carrier.

He said planes from the Charles de Gaulle would launch strikes against ISIS targets in Syria, including command and recruitment centres as well as oil facilities, in "a matter of hours or days".

Rafale jets catapulted from the carrier's flight deck on Monday morning, an AFP reporter saw.

The strikes came 10 days after the deadly attacks in Paris, claimed by ISIS, that left 130 dead.

French President Francois Hollande said earlier in Paris: "We will intensify our strikes, choosing targets that will do the most damage possible to this army of terrorists."

The Charles De Gaulle has 26 fighter jets, more than trebling France's strike capacity in the US-led mission against ISIS.

France already has six Mirage and six Rafale jets stationed in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

A military source said their missions would overfly Turkey or Jordan to avoid Syrian anti-aircraft defences.

To avoid crossing paths with Russian planes, France is coordinating with Moscow via the US coalition headquarters in Qatar.

French and Russian naval commanders began exchanging information at the end of last week ahead of the deployment to the eastern Mediterranean, where Russia has several ships.

Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his navy last week to work with the French "as allies".

After its operation in the Mediterranean, the Charles de Gaulle will head to the Gulf to relieve a US carrier.