PARIS – France has deployed an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf to strengthen its military operation against Islamic State extremists in Iraq.
President Francois Hollande announced days after deadly attacks by Islamic radicals in Paris last month that France would dispatch the Charles de Gaulle carrier to the Middle East, to work more closely with the U.S.-led coalition.
A French military official said warplanes are starting operations from the Charles de Gaulle on Monday, and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was visiting the carrier.
France has been among the most active participants in the coalition, carrying out regular airstrikes in Iraq.
French media reported that some 2,000 military personnel are aboard the carrier, accompanied by a submarine, an air defense frigate and a British anti-submarine frigate.