France deploys the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, in pictures
Warplanes have taken off from France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, newly deployed to the eastern Mediterranean, for operations over areas held by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, military sources said. The following pictures, taken in the lead up to the start of operations, show preparations aboard the vessel.
Rafale jets loaded with bombs were catapulted from the carrier's flight deck, an AFP reporter saw.
The exact nature of the operations, which come 10 days after the deadly attacks in Paris that left 130 dead, is unknown
One of France's Dassault Rafale fighter jets
French President Francois Hollande said earlier in Paris: 'We will intensify our strikes, choosing targets that will do the most damage possible to this army of terrorists.'
French naval technicians work on the flight deck
The Charles De Gaulle has 26 fighters, more than doubling France's strike capacity in the US-led mission against IS. France already has six Mirage and six Rafale jets stationed in the United Arab Emirates and Jordan
Members of the French Navy work on missiles aboard the carrier
A military source said the French missions would overfly Turkey or Jordan to avoid Syrian anti-aircraft defences. To avoid crossing paths with Russian planes, France is coordinating with Moscow via the US coalition headquarters in Qatar
A Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard returns safely to the Charles de Gaulle
Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his navy last week to work with the French 'as allies'. Seen here, the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier
After its operation in the Mediterranean, the Charles de Gaulle will head to the Gulf to relieve a US carrier.