“Thanks to the Charles de Gaulle we will have intelligence,” French President Francois Hollande told military officers and personnel on board the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Wednesday. “We may also conduct operations in Iraq, if necessary, with even more intensity and more efficiency.”
President Hollande said that the French Navy flagship, largest warship in Western Europe, will operate in coordination with United States forces. France is the first to join US-led airstrikes against the extremist Islamic State.
French government’s decision to deploy a carrier comes after three long days of terror attacks in France leaving 17 people dead. Attackers claim allegiance to al-Qaida and Islamic State.
“We are at war. Not a war against a religion, not a war against a civilization, but to defend our values, which are universal. It’s a war against terrorism and radical Islamism, against everything that would break our solidarity, our liberty, our fraternity,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls earlier said.