France conducted a series of airstrikes on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, Sunday night following Friday's horrific series of terrorist attacks in Paris, the French Defense Ministry said, Reuters reported. The U.S. and France both said they would increase airstrikes against the group known as ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Financial Times reported.
The French strikes involved 10 jets and 20 bombs and reportedly hit a command and control center, a jihadi recruitment center, a training camp and a munitions depot. The U.S. and France said they would target ISIS installations as Western countries prepared to respond to the Paris attacks, which left at least 129 dead and hundreds wounded. Declared “an act of war” by French President François Hollande, the attacks were the worst in France since World War II.
It remained unclear when the U.S. would begin to step up its airstrikes and which areas it would target. Raqqa, the city targeted by French airstrikes, is the de facto capital of ISIS.
Along with the U.S. and its allies, Russia also has been conducting airstrikes in Syria since Sept. 30, complicating the U.S. goal to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad from power. Russia has approximately 4,000 military advisers and support staff on the ground in Syria.
The leaders of the Group of 20 nations met in Turkey Sunday to discuss security issues and how to best combat global terrorism. The attacks on Paris have again raised calls from right-wing European parties to shut Europe’s borders as refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan continue to try to reach Europe to seek asylum.
Police in France said seven terrorists died Friday evening in the attacks, with one shot by authorities and the other six detonating suicide vests. French and Belgian authorities were seeking an eighth suspect Sunday.
French authorities said Sunday they might extend the country’s current state of emergency, which would give security forces greater authority to investigate the coordinated terrorist attacks.