Russia joins France striking ISIS stronghold in Syria

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Russian military might joined French warplanes Tuesday as the two nations struck back at the Islamic State four days after terror teams carried out coordinated attacks in Paris, leaving 129 people dead.

10 French fighter jets carried out new airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria, according to French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Also, twelve Russian long-range bombers including supersonic Tu-22M “Backfires” flew from a base in Mozdok, Russia near the border of Georgia and Azerbaijan and launched cruise missiles inside Raqqa, a U.S. official with knowledge of the mission told Fox News.

The supersonic bombers flew over the Caspian Sea, Iran, Iraq and into Syria before unleashing a volley of cruise missiles into Raqqa. The U.S. military is still assessing the damage.

A defense official in the Middle East tells Fox News that despite the countries' shared objective of targeting ISIS, it is “highly unlikely” the French and Russians coordinated their strikes. That official also said he did not think the French would communicate with the Russians in secret.

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Fox News is told Russia did inform the U.S. before launching the new assault. The official characterized the Russian effort as “not devastating.”

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the crash of a Russian passenger plane over Egypt last month, killing 224 people. On Tuesday, Russia's security service said a homemade explosive device brought down the airliner, calling it a "terrorist" act.

Cruise missiles were also fired Monday from the Caspian Sea from Russian Navy missile boats, some of the same vessels which launched a similar salvo into Syria last month.

Russia's defense minister also said its warplanes fired cruise missiles on militant positions in Syria's Idlib and Aleppo provinces. Sergei Shoigu told reporters the missiles were fired from Tu-160 and Tu-95 warplanes. The Islamic State has positions in Aleppo province, whereas Idlib has the presence of the Nusra militant group.

Meantime, President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, currently in the Mediterranean, to start cooperating with the French military on operations in Syria. Putin said a French aircraft carrier task force is to approach the Moskva soon and the cruiser is to "cooperate with them as with allies."

Germany and Italy ruled out any role in the air campaign against ISIS in Syria. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said "it doesn't make sense if we add to the 16 nations which are carrying out air attacks."

Germany is providing weapons and equipment to Kurdish fighters battling ISIS in northern Iraq. Steinmeier said it "was the right strategy" because they are holding ground and making "slight territorial gains."

Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti said her country was already planning to beef up its actions in Iraq. While ruling out an Italian military role in Syria, she said Italy "assured France of its maximum availability" in other cooperation.

Also Tuesday, France invoked a never-before-used article of the EU's Lisbon Treaty obliging members of the 28-nation bloc to give "aid and assistance by all the means in their power" to a member country that is "the victim of armed aggression on its territory." French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said EU partners could help "either by taking part in France's operations in Syria or Iraq, or by easing the load or providing support for France in other operations."

"My name and picture were all over the news, yet I was able to stay in [Europe]."

— Suspected mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud, speaking to ISIS magazine

The airstrikes came as The Wall Street Journal, citing two Western security officials, reported that 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud had been sought as a target for an airstrike, but could not be located. A Western intelligence official told the paper that efforts to monitor communications between Abaaoud in Syria and jihadists in Europe were complicated by an inability to tell whether Abaaoud or his teenage brother was speaking.

Abaaoud was named by French officials as the key figure suspected of planning and organizing the Paris attacks, which included a series of suicide bombings outside the country's national stadium and a massacre at a concert hall.

He came to public notice in Belgium last year for taking his then 13-year-old brother with him to Syria and appearing in an ISIS propaganda video in which he boasted about his pride in piling the dead bodies of "infidel" enemies into a trailer. At some point, Abaaoud returned to Belgium, only to escape the authorities in January of this year after police foiled a plot to attack officers he had masterminded on behalf of a cell based in the Belgian town of Verviers. In the ensuing gun battle, two of Abaaoud's alleged accomplices were killed, but Abaaoud somehow escaped.

He told the monthly ISIS magazine Dabiq in its February issue that he slipped away from European intelligence agencies because “Allah blinded their vision." He added, "My name and picture were all over the news, yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them and leave safely when doing so became necessary."

French officials who identified Abaaoud as a prime suspect to The Associated Press cited chatter from ISIS figures that Abaaoud had recommended a concert as an ideal target for inflicting maximum casualties, as well as electronic communications between Abaaoud and one of the Paris attackers who blew himself up.

Western officials told the Journal they had no knowledge of the planned attacks on the French capital as they sought Abaaoud, and admitted they did not know whether his death would have been enough to stop the attacks, which were carried out by seven suicide attackers, including a set of three brothers.

A Belgian official told the Journal "it is certain" that Abaaoud knew Salah Abdeslam, who was being hunted by authorities across Europe early Tuesday on suspicion of his having been involved in the Paris terror. The two jihadists grew up not far from each other in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek and spent time in the same prison for petty crimes.

People in Paris fought back in their own way -- by continuing to eat, drink and be merry. Bar and restaurant owners urged people to return to their local nightspots Tuesday, relaying the message online and on social media with the slogan "Tous au bistrot" -- Everyone to the bistro.

The message is backed by restaurant website Le Fooding, which says people should go out to pay tribute to the victims, support the food and drink industry and show that "France will not give in to fear."

Other Parisians are posting pictures on Twitter of themselves on the city's many cafe and restaurant patios, using the hashtag #JeSuisAuTerrasse -- I'm on the patio.

Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.