Al-Raqqah, a city in Syria on the north bank of the Euphrates River, about 100 miles east of Aleppo, which has become the de facto capital of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is being pounded heavily by the French Air Force in retaliation for Friday’s bombing attacks in Paris. Initial, unconfirmed reports from Arab social media sources count at least 30 consecutive airstrikes.
One social media source said Sunday night: “Raqqa is getting pummeled again tonight. One cannot help but suspect that the Armée de l’air has taken the gloves off…”
Earlier on Sunday, the Associated Press reported that senior Iraqi intelligence officials had warned of imminent ISIS assaults, one day before the deadly attacks that killed 130 people. The Iraqi intelligence dispatch said ISIS’ leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had ordered an attack on coalition countries conducting military operations in Iraq and Syria, including Iran and Russia, through bombings and other attacks in the coming days.
The same Iraqi officials were able to inform the coalition members that the Paris attacks had been planned in Al-Raqqah, Syria, where the attackers received training for that specific attack, before being sent to France. It is speculated that 24 people were involved in the Paris attacks, including 19 attackers and 5 organizers.
According to Conflict News, the areas being struck in Raqqa have been a local stadium, a museum, clinics and hospitals, Political buildings, and a forest area. The same source also claims the US supplied the French Air Force with the necessary intelligence to conduct the raids.