French aircraft destroy jihadi training camp in Raqqa

Twelve aircraft including 10 fighter jets dropped a total of 20 bombs in IS stronghold in Syria


Sunday night’s airstrikes by French aircraft destroyed a jihadi training camp and a munitions dump in the city of Raqqa, where Iraqi intelligence officials say the attacks on Paris were planned.

Twelve aircraft including 10 fighter jets dropped a total of 20 bombs in the biggest air strikes since France extended its bombing campaign against the extremist group to Syria in September, a Defence Ministry statement said.

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

There were more than 30 explosions heard in the Raqqa city area, said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict using a network of sources on the ground.

It was not immediately clear if all the blasts were caused by air strikes or other weaponry. Islamic State, which uses Raqqa as the defacto capital of its self-declared caliphate, is restricting movement inside the city, making it difficult to collect information on any casualties, Abdulrahman said.

An anti-Islamic State activist group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, said the French strikes hit “Division 17” and “Avant-garde camp” in Raqqa and provided maps of their locations on its Twitter feed.

It said there were no reports of casualties so far.

The group said one strike hit an area where Kayla Mueller, a US hostage, had been held in Raqqa before being killed earlier this year.

It posted a video with audio of the rumble of jets overhead which it said was from inside Raqqa city.