World Bulletin / News Desk
French warplanes once again hit the ISIL stronghold of Raqqa, in northern Syria, early on Tuesday, after the French president decided to intensify operations against the group following a wave of deadly attacks that killed 129 people in Paris.
The French military dropped 16 bombs on ISIL targets in Raqqa, hitting a command center and a training center, the France’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The strikes, conducted overnight, involved 10 fighter jets, which were launched from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
President Francois Hollande had previously said Friday’s attacks were carried out by members of the ISIL terrorist organization, which later reportedly claimed responsibility.
"The two goals were to struck and destroyed simultaneously," the statement said, noting that this mission was led "in coordination with U.S. forces".
U.S. strikes earlier hit 116 oil trucks in eastern Syria. French strikes targeted ISIL in Raqqa as well on Sunday night.
Speaking in front of the U.S. embassy in Paris Monday night, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said: "Your American sisters and brothers will stand with you shoulder-to-shoulder as we have stood together throughout history. Tonight we are all Parisians.”
Kerry stressed that the fight against ISIL was not a clash of civilization. "They are in fact psychopathic monsters. There’s nothing civilized about them," he said after meeting the French president on Tuesday.
"We have to step up our efforts to hit them at the core, where they are planning these things," he added.
Hollande is set to visit the U.S. and Russia next week, where he will meet President Barack Obama and President Vladimir Putin respectively. The focus of Hollande’s trip is a bid to build a grand coalition against ISIL.