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Paris attacks: French air strikes hit ISIS stronghold in Syria

TRIBUTE: Mourners observed a minute of silence near the Bataclan concert venue in Paris yesterday. ISIS has claimed responsibility for Friday's coordinated attacks, which killed more than 130 people in the French capital


    Nov 17, 2015

    Paris attacks: French air strikes hit ISIS stronghold in Syria


    TEN French fighter planes dropped 20 bombs in Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in eastern Syria, destroying key facilities of the extremist group, two days after more than 130 people were killed in Paris by gunmen in a coordinated attack.

    But a video appeared yesterday on a site used by ISIS, warning that countries taking part in air strikes against Syria would suffer the same fate as France and threatening to launch attacks in Washington, reported Reuters.

    The video, which purports to be the work of ISIS fighters in Iraq, began with news footage of the aftermath of the Paris shootings.

    The message was delivered by a man who was identified in the subtitles as "Al Ghareeb the Algerian".

    It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the video.

    ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, in which seven gunmen were killed, six by blowing themselves up.

    Al Ghareeb the Algerian also warned Europe in the video that more attacks were coming.

    Earlier, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that terrorists are plotting more attacks in Europe after Friday's violence.

    "We will act on all fronts to destroy ISIS," Mr Valls told German RTL radio.

    "We know that there are operations that were being prepared and that are being prepared again, not only against France but also against other European countries," he added.

    France's Ministry of Defence said in a statement late on Sunday that the bombings on Raqqa were aimed primarily at the command post, recruitment centre and arms depots of the ISIS.

    "The secondary target was the training camps," said the statement.

    "The sites targeted were previously identified by French reconnaissance missions and the bombing operation was conducted in coordination with United States forces," the ministry added.

    The planes were said to have left from Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

    According to a group monitoring the war in Syria, ISIS - which uses Raqqa as the de facto capital of its self-declared caliphate - is restricting movement inside the city, making it difficult to collect information on casualties from the bombings.

    Raqqa is a regular target of US-led coalition aircraft, Syrian warplanes, and more recently, strikes by Russia, which were launched on Sept 30.

    French newspaper Direct Matin said yesterday that another three people wounded in Friday's attacks had died on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 132.

    Public cultural venues such as museums and theatres reopened yesterday following two days of a near-complete shutdown of the French capital, said the newspaper.

    French Energy Minister Segolene Royal put up a stoic front as she said the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in two weeks' time in Paris will go ahead as planned.

    "If not, terrorism wins," Le Point magazine quoted her as saying.

    However, Prime Minister Valls said yesterday that the conference will be limited to core negotiations, while planned marches and concerts will be cancelled.

    US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are among heads of state expected to attend the summit where delegates from more than 190 countries will work on an agreement to set up a global framework to combat climate change, Bloomberg reported.