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French Aircraft Carrier to Join Fight Against ISIS

The flagship of the French fleet, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles DeGaulle, has been ordered to the Gulf region to support the mission against ISIS and possibly join the U.S. carrier Carl Vinson in airstrikes.

In remarks on Wednesday aboard the DeGaulle, French President Francois Hollande said that the terror attacks in Paris last week by Islamic extremists “justifies the presence of our aircraft carrier” in the Gulf.

"Thanks to the Charles de Gaulle we will have intelligence" from surveillance flights, Hollande said, and "we may also conduct operations in Iraq."

The 858-foot carrier has 20-25 aircraft aboard, including Super Etendard strike fighter jets and Rafale fighters. The DeGaulle will also be accompanied by a French attack submarine.

Currently, France has nine Rafale and six Mirage fighters deployed to Jordan and the United Arab Emirates as part of Operation Chammal, named for the seasonal winds that blow across Iraq, according to Agence France Presse.

The French aircraft have been limited to airstrikes in Iraq. Operation Chammal is part of the U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

One of the Paris attackers, Amedy Coulibaly, claimed allegiance to ISIS, although the claim has been disputed.

The other two gunmen, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, said they were aligned with Islamist network of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

On Wednesday, the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve reported conducting six more airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, and another 12 in Iraq.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the U.S., Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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