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French Rafale jets strike ISIS tunnels in northeastern Iraq

French Rafale fighter aircraft conducted a strike on a number of Islamic State tunnels in northeastern Iraq, the French defense ministry said in a Friday release.

The strikes were conducted on Thursday, October 31 as part of Operation Chammal, France’s contribution to Operation Inherent Resolve, the multinational Coalition military effort against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

“The operation was conducted jointly and coordinated with other elements of the international Coalition. The aim was to destroy several tunnels used by Daesh as a rear base for its actions, and to degrade its logistical and military capabilities in this region,” the release said.

“This strike was prepared with our allies as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. It was preceded by reconnaissance by an Atlantic 2 maritime patrol aircraft, and was supported by a Reaper UAV from the Coalition.”

“The absence of a civilian population around the target had been confirmed previously, and again at the time of the strike,” according to the release.

France’s Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly commented on the strike on Twitter, saying “we give no respite” to ISIS.

“The Levant has been the scene of many recent reversals,” Parly wrote, in apparent reference to the U.S. government’s sudden order last month to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria.

“France’s position is constant and its determination to fight terrorism remains intact. Yesterday, the French air force bombed several Daesh [ISIS] caches and tunnels.”

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a raid conducted by U.S. Special Operations forces on Saturday, but CENTCOM commander General Kenneth McKenzie said Wednesday that the fight against the organization will go on.

“The neutralization of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after his long stalking does not mean the end of the fight against Daesh or terrorism,” Parly said this week.

“The number one priority remains the fight against terrorism and against Daesh.”

French Rafale and Atlantic 2 aircraft based in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have flown 29 sorties as part of Operation Inherent Resolve this week, according to France’s defense ministry.

Members of the U.S.-led Coalition will meet in Washington on November 14.

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