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France has dropped 16 more bombs on the Islamic State group in Syria

Meanwhile, the hunt for Salah Abdeslam continues.

Image: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

FRENCH WARPLANES CARRIED out fresh raids overnight against the Islamic State stronghold of Raqa in northern Syria, destroying a command centre and training centre.

“For the second time in 24 hours the French military conducted an air raid against Daesh in Raqa in Syria,” the country’s defence minister said in a statement, using another name for the jihadist group.

President Francois Hollande has vowed to hit back at IS “without mercy” after Friday’s attacks in Paris, the bloodiest on its territory.

Ten Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighters carried out the raid at 12.30am (GMT), dropping 16 bombs, the defence ministry said.

“Both targets were hit and destroyed simultaneously,” it said.

Conducted in coordination with US forces, the raid was aimed at sites identified during reconnaissance missions previously carried out by France.

France has carried out air raids against IS in Syria since September but stepped up its raids after Friday’s attacks, with 10 warplanes dropping 20 bombs on jihadist targets in Raqa on Sunday.

The United States and France have also decided to increase their exchange of intelligence on potential targets.

France is set to further intensify its operations against the jihadists in Syria through the information acquired and upcoming deployment of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which will triple its capacity to strike.

Last night, US Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Paris for talks. While there, he stood outside the US embassy – lit up in the colours of the French flag – vowing to defeat terrorism.

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“The US and France are not only friends – we are family,” he told reporters.

We will defeat Daesh (IS) and all who share their despicable ideology, and we will continue to show compassion to those who seek refuge from the violence the terrorists engender.

“We will fight to ensure the world our children inherit is rich in love and short on hate.”

He described the IS militants, who have claimed responsibility for France’s worst ever terror attacks which killed 129 people, as “psychopathic monsters”.

Meanwhile, the manhunt for suspect Salah Abdeslam continues in Europe.

© – AFP 2015

Read: Paris terror attacks: Multi-city raids and manhunts as police close the net on suspects

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