The French air force used its first cruise missiles against Islamic State group targets in Iraq on Tuesday, the defense ministry said.

“Launched from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, the raid was made up of a dozen fighter planes equipped with cruise missiles and bombs,” the French ministry said in a statement.

The jets targeted buildings in the al-Qaim area of western Iraq, a civilian neighborhood that also serves as “a training center and logistical depot,” the ministry said.

The Scalp cruise missiles, which are guided by their own onboard computers, travel over longer distances and with greater precision than normal bombs, which the French ministry claimed was particularly useful in civilian areas.

France, which has been involved in the U.S.-led coalition air strikes in Iraq since September 2014, expanded its strikes to Syria 12 months later.

French President Francois Hollande declared his country at war with the Islamic State group, which controls around a third of Iraq and half of Syria, after IS carried out attacks in Paris last month that killed 130 people.

France sent its aircraft carrier to the region, more than tripling its contingent of fighter jets engaged in strikes against IS, although its operations remain limited because of a lack of clear targets and intelligence on the ground.


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