Paris attacks: The maps that show where France is bombing in the Isis stronghold of Raqqa in Syria

Concerns were raised that France could be bombing out of 'venceange' after previous targets were reportedly struck again

Lizzie Dearden@lizziedearden
Monday 16 November 2015 18:08
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A French Dassault Rafale fighter jet flies during a 2014 air show
A French Dassault Rafale fighter jet flies during a 2014 air show

France has launched a second night of air strikes on Isis’ Syrian stronghold of Raqqa in Syria after Francois Hollande vowed to “destroy” the group.

Colonel Gilles Jaron said a command post and training tramp were among the targets destroyed overnight

Activists with the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently reported seven airstrikes on the city, which are not thought to have killed any civilians.

It was the second consecutive night of bombing following the Isis terror attacks that killed at least 129 people in Paris on Friday.

Concerns were raised yesterday that France is bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa out of "vengeance" after it hit targets that have been struck multiple times before.

The building where American hostage Kayla Mueller was killed by a Jordanian air strike was one of those hit by at least 20 rockets on Monday, activists reported.

French intelligence agencies believe shootings and suicide bombings in the city were planned there before being carried out by militants from France, Belgium and possibly other nations.

A group of anti-Isis activists, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) said no civilians were killed but the bombing cut electricity and water, which has since been restored to the city.

It listed a stadium, hospital, museum, “political building” and training camps among the targets.

A tweet accompanying a satellite photo read: “This place that got hit by France is the same place where Kayla Mueller died by airstrike.”

The 26-year-old had been kidnapped in Aleppo in 2013 and was among the hostages moved after a failed rescue attempt on their former prison by US forces.

Isis released images of the damaged building she had been held in following a Jordanian air strike on 6 February, following the group’s burning of pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh.

The site had already bombed by the coalition twice before but a Pentagon spokesman said it was targeted again because militants are known to return to previous targets in the belief they will not be hit again.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 30 explosions were heard in the area on Monday, although it was not immediately clear if all the blasts were caused by air strikes or other weaponry.

Founder Rami Abdulrahman said two of Isis’ training camps and a suspected arms depot were among the targets.

He said Isis militants were restricting movement inside the city, making it difficult to collect information on any casualties.

Charlie Winter, a security analyst specialising in Isis, told The Independent that the intelligence France was working on was unclear.

Jordan: French jets take off to strike IS stronghold in Raqqa

“What worries me is the possibility that France may just be bombing out of a desire for vengeance and not bombing targets that are tactically or strategically important,” he said.

“If destroying Isis becomes a priority (with coalition air strikes) it could put more pressure on the group within their territories.

“But if that happens we are more likely to see instances where Isis will lash out abroad.”

Raqqa was also the site of the drone strike that could have killed Mohammed Emwazi, the British militant known as Jihadi John, on Thursday night.

President Francois Hollande called for all allies to take a more proactive role against Isis in Syria as France marked its third day of national mourning yesterday.

He said he would meet Barack Obama in Washington and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in the coming days “so we can unite our forces to achieve a result that has taken too long”.

The President confirmed he had ordered air strikes on Isis headquarters in Raqqa overnight and would continue to wage war “mercilessly”, sending an aircraft carrier to triple French air power in the region.

Sunday night saw 12 aircraft including 10 fighter jets took part in the biggest air strikes since France extended its bombing campaign against the extremist group to Syria in September, the defence ministry said.

The jets launched from sites in Jordan and the Persian Gulf, in coordination with US forces.

On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Turkey on Sunday, France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said his country was justified in taking action in Syria.

"It was normal to take the initiative and action and France had the legitimacy to do so. We did it already in the past, we have conducted new airstrikes in Raqqa,” he added.

"One cannot be attacked harshly, and you know the drama that is happening in Paris, without being present and active."

Additional reporting by agencies

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