The French Defense ministry has announced that the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has launched operations against Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq for the first time.

With 26 fighter jets on board, the 38,000t, nuclear-powered French aircraft carrier group, which includes frigates, a submarine, and a fleet auxiliary supply ship, was deployed last week to the eastern Mediterranean to support coalition operations in Iraq and Syria.

Four Rafal fighter jets took off from the aircraft carrier and have reportedly destroyed two targets while flying over the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Mosul.

"Hollande is due to meet with US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin this week."

France armed forces chief of staff general Pierre de Villiers was quoted by media sources as saying: "We carried out strikes in Ramadi and Mosul in support of ground forces that were pushing against Daesh troops."

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By GlobalData

The aircraft carrier will also receive air defence cover support from the UK Royal Navy’s Daring-class Type 45 destroyer, the HMS Defender.

The US has also deployed AV-8B Harriers fighter jets to support Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) in its fight against the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq.

The jets are currently embarked with the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

The strikes follow the recent Paris attacks, which killed more than 129 people and injured over 350.

French President Francois Hollande was also quoted as saying: "we’re going to choose sites that do the most damage possible."

The country is also expected to intensify its attacks against IS targets in Syria.

Hollande is due to meet with US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin this week as part of plans to step up efforts to combat ISIL in Iraq and Syria.