France has dropped twice as many bombs on IS as in Libya: airforce chief

France has dropped twice as many bombs on IS as in Libya: airforce chief

On an airbase in Jordan (Jordan) (AFP) - French warplanes have used twice as much firepower against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq as in the campaign to oust Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, according to Air Force Chief of Staff Andre Lanata.

In an interview with AFP, Lanata said Mirage jets taking off from bases in Jordan and United Arab Emirates had dropped 1,800 bombs since France joined the US-led anti-IS coalition in 2014.

The total figure, including strikes carried out by planes taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, stood at 2,300, he said.

"That's twice as many as in Libya in 2011 and four times more than in the Serval and Barkhane operations (against jihadist groups in the Sahel)", Lanata said during a weekend visit to a base used by French forces in Jordan.

France, which has been targeted by a wave of jihadist attacks, ratcheted up its strikes against IS after the Paris massacre of November 2015 which was claimed by the group.

The coalition is currently focusing its strikes on the Iraqi city of Mosul -- which is being fought over by Iraqi forces and IS -- as well as the jihadists' Syrian stronghold of Raqa.

Lanata said the air campaign -- the bulk of which is being shouldered by the US, with France and Britain playing the main support roles -- was straining resources.

"I'm having a hard time (recruiting and retaining personnel) in a number of positions, from plane mechanics to intelligence officers, image analysts and base defenders."

"We also have historical capacity shortcomings," he said, pointing to aerial refuelling tankers "that are on average 55 years old" as well as a shortage of drones and other surveillance devices.

Advertise