“This morning [France] carried out airstrikes on the territory of Iraq,” the official said.
Earlier, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the French Air Force could strike positions of the IS in Iraq on Thursday. Planes have been in the sky over Iraq since the morning, according to the minister. Jean-Yves Le Drian also said that France might consider extending its airstrikes to Syria.
The announcement comes a day after Algerian terrorist group Jund al-Khalifah, which pledged allegiance to the IS, released a video showing the beheading of French citizen Herve Gourdel. French officials confirmed the authenticity of the video and President Francois Hollande condemning the execution as "cruel and cowardly" convened an emergency meeting with the State Defense Council. The meeting is expected to take place later on Thursday.
French Air Force reconnaissance aircraft have been patrolling the airspace over Iraq since mid-September monitoring the activities of the radical Islamist group.
On September 19, Hollande issued a statement announcing the beginning of airstrikes against IS militants. It is also known that the French planes have hit IS positions in the country at least once, destroying one of the jihadists' warehouses.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), has been fighting against Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.