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France launches first airstrike against Islamic militants

French attack planes on Friday destroyed fuel depots and ammunitions on an Iraqi military installation run by the Sunni extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State.

Fighter jets accompanied by support planes carried out four airstrikes and managed to destroy the target in northern Iraq, the Associated Press reports. French president Francois Hollande said that other operations will continue in the coming days with the goal to “weaken this terrorist organization and come to the aid of the Iraqi authorities.”

Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman for the Iraqi military said dozens of extremist fighters were killed by the airstrikes. French officials could not confirm the deaths.

Al-Moussawi also said the airstrikes struck near the town of Zumar in Northern Iraq, located in an area held by IS militants. It has lately been a battleground for Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting to regain territories from the terrorist group.

Aside from the U.S., France is the first Western country to provide military assistance to the Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Just last week, president Obama outlined his plan to ramp up air strikes against the terrorist group and create an international coalition that would eventually “degrade and destroy” IS.

Meanwhile in Syria, the U.S. senate approved a bill on Thursday that will arm, train and support Syrian rebels fighting IS.

President Obama expressed his approval of the vote, saying that a bipartisan vote showed the world that Americans were united in combat against the militant group.

“We are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together,” the president said.

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