France Declares War On Islamic State Group, Begins Bombing Capital

| by Robert Fowler
French Aircraft Launching To Bomb Raqqa.French Aircraft Launching To Bomb Raqqa.

French President Francois Hollande has declared war on the Islamic State group.

Following the Nov. 13 terrorist attack across Paris that ended with 129 dead and hundreds wounded, the French air force has begun bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa, which has been labeled Islamic State group’s capital.

Retaliation against Islamic State group began on Nov. 15 when 12 French aircraft, stationed in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, flew over Raqqa and began bombing targets deemed important to Islamic State group, Sky News reports.

The bombings continued into Nov. 16, with 24 bombs estimated to have been dropped so far. Humanitarian group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently announced there have been no civilian casualties. It is estimated that few Islamic State group fighters have been killed. The terrorist organization anticipated the bombings and is currently lying low, CNN reports.

On the night of the terrorist attacks, Hollande described the assault on Paris streets “an act of war,” BBC News reports.

“So France will be merciless in its response to the Islamic State militants,” Hollande pledged, according to BBC News. The French president asserted that France will “use all means within the law … on every battleground here and abroad together with our allies.”

The French Parliament held an emergency joint session on Nov. 16. During the session, Hollande proposed that the current state of emergency in France be extended for three months and that constitutional amendments be made to give the government more flexibility in catching and deporting potentially radicalized French citizens, Vanity Fair reports.

“France is at war,” Hollande announced, according to Vanity Fair.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has echoed Hollande’s stance, agreeing that their nation is at war, CNN reports.

“Anybody who attacks the Republic, the Republic will fight back,” said Cazeneuve, according to CNN.

The U.S. is working closely with France in retaliating against Islamic State group. The French air force's ongoing bombing of Raqqa has been described as more symbolic than strategic. The targets were allegedly locations that the U.S. was already planning on striking, CNN reports.

“These target packages were already in folders,” retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling told CNN. “I’m sure the central command handed them over to the French fighters to attack for the symbolism of France being back in the fight."

Sources: BBC News, CNN, Sky News, Vanity Fair / Photo credit: YouTube screenshot