French warplanes hit ISIS command centre near Mosul: Official

French Rafale fighter aircraft return aboard the French Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, after flights on Nov 23, 2015.
French Rafale fighter aircraft return aboard the French Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, after flights on Nov 23, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - French warplanes "destroyed" an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group command centre and a training camp near the key northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the defense ministry said on Tuesday.

"The target was hit" in the nearby city of Tal Afar, a French official said.

It took place as French President Francois Hollande visited Washington for talks with his US counterpart Barack Obama.

Eleven days after the deadly attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, Obama and Hollande announced they would intensify their air raids against ISIS, and urged Russia to focus its military efforts against the group.

The aerial assault, which took place around 1830 GMT (2-30am on Wednesday, Singapore time), was conducted jointly with the US Air Force and last about five hours, the French defense ministry said in a statement.

The Rafale jets took off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It has been deployed since Monday in anti-ISIS operations.

On Monday, aircraft that took off from the carrier provided aerial support to Iraqi troops battling ISIS in Ramadi and Mosul.

Late Monday, they also hit the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria, targeting a command center, a vehicle storage area and maintenance facilities.

The 26 fighter jets aboard the aircraft carrier triple French aerial capacity in the region, and come on top of 12 aircraft stationed in the United Arab Emirates and in Jordan.