FRENCH jets launched a series of ‘ massive’ air strikes on ISIS in Syria on Sunday night as the country started its ‘ pitiless retribution’ for the terror attacks on Paris.
The strikes were conducted by ten fighter planes which dropped 20 bombs on the terror group’s capital of Raqqa, destroying a key command centre, training camp and munitions
munitions dump, throwing the city into panic. The strikes were carried out in co- ordination with U. S. forces.
World leaders, meanwhile, sought to join forces to bring peace to Syria and destroy the Islamic State jihadist network, hoping to curb the extremist
menace after the Paris attacks. Western leaders sought to narrow differences with Russian President Vladimir Putin on bringing peace to Syria and fighting Islamic State jihadists. Sharing its pain following the attacks in Paris, India on Monday also offered to help France in fighting terror and in ensuring that such assaults on humanity do not recur anywhere.
The bombardment came just two days after President Francois Hollande said the co- ordinated attacks in Paris that killed up to 129 people was an ‘ act of war’ and vowed to strike ISIS in Syria ‘ without mercy’. Activists inside Syria have suggested that no civilian casualties have been sustained in the Raqqa bombings. Water supplies and electricity have reportedly been cut as a result of the air strikes, with activists claiming there has been panic inside the city. “The raid was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Twenty bombs were dropped,” the French Defence ministry statement said. In France, police carried out around 150 anti-terrorism raids across the country on Monday morning, arresting dozens of suspects and seizing a cache of weapons including a rocket launcher.
A huge manhunt is also underway for accomplices of the Islamist cell including one of the bomb plotters who is still on the run. A French official has identified the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks as Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, meanwhile, has warned that authorities believe new terror attacks are being planned in France and in other European countries following the carnage. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has also called for the dissolution of mosques where hatred is preached in comments made on French television. In Paris, heavily-armed tactical units launched more than 150 pre-dawn raids at addresses in Toulouse, Lyon, Grenoble, Calais and two suburbs of Paris. French media reported that a rocket launcher, flack jackets, several pistols and a Kalashnikov assault rifle were among the cache of weapons seized in Lyon overnight, with five people arrested. They were among dozens of arrests in areas linked with radical Islamists who may have helped seven suicide bombers carry out the carnage.
French security sources said a fourth terrorist had now been identified as Frenchman Samy Aminour, 28, after raids on addresses in the Parisian suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis and Bobigny linked to his family overnight. Aminour, thought to be one of four jihadis who massacred 89 fans at the Bataclan rock gig, is said to have been known to French anti-terror police since 2012 when he was prosecuted for trying to flee France for Yemen. On Monday morning, Valls said that new terror attacks are being planned in France and in other European countries. “We know that operations were being prepared and are still being prepared, not only against France but other European countries too,” he said. France would be living with the threat of terror attacks for a long time, he said. Valls said he was struck by the fact that young people had been targeted in Fridays attacks on a concert hall, bars and restaurants and outside the Stade de France stadium.
France and other countries in Europe observed a minutes silence on Monday in memory of the victims of the worst-ever terror attacks on French soil. President Francois Hollande and his cabinet, all dressed in black, bowed their heads at the Sorbonne University, surrounded by scores of students. And at Place de la Republique near the site of many of Fridays attacks, hundreds more stood still to remember the 129 people who were killed in the bloodbath. Large crowds also gathered in silence by the Bataclan music venue where 89 people were died, and outside a nearby bar and restaurant where 15 people were murdered. Valls’ comments came as serious questions were being asked of Frances security operation after it emerged one of the fugitives, Frenchman Salah Abdeslam, wanted over the Paris bloodbath was arrested then released by police hours after the attacks.