French warplanes hit IS command center near Mosul: official

French naval tecnicians work on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle at a military port in the southern French city of Toulon, on November 18, 2015 (AFP Photo/Anne-Christine Poujoulat)

Washington (AFP) - French warplanes "destroyed" an Islamic State group command center and a training camp near the key northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

"The target was hit" in the nearby city of Tal Afar, a French official said.

It took place as French President Francois Hollande visited Washington for talks with his US counterpart Barack Obama.

Eleven days after the deadly attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, Obama and Hollande announced they would intensify their air raids against IS, and urged Russia to focus its military efforts against the group.

The aerial assault, which took place around 1830 GMT, was conducted jointly with the US Air Force and last about five hours, the French defense ministry said in a statement.

The Rafale jets took off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It has been deployed since Monday in anti-IS operations.

On Monday, aircraft that took off from the carrier provided aerial support to Iraqi troops battling IS in Ramadi and Mosul.

Late Monday, they also hit the IS stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria, targeting a command center, a vehicle storage area and maintenance facilities.

The 26 fighter jets aboard the aircraft carrier triple French aerial capacity in the region, and come on top of 12 aircraft stationed in the United Arab Emirates and in Jordan.