French radio station RTL reported that 24 aircraft would take part in Friday’s strikes, with an average of one sortie launching every three minutes.
The offensive marks the third anti-terrorist operation in which the Charles de Gaulle has taken part since February 2015. The 38,000-ton ship is powered by two nuclear reactors and houses 1,900 crewmembers.
France has sustained a number of terror attacks from Daesh-linked groups in the last few years, including most recently July’s attack in Nice during Bastille Day celebrations. Some suggest that Paris is making its presence felt in Iraq in preparation to retake Mosul from the violent extremist group.
The UN said Thursday that 700,000 Mosul residents will require assistance once the offensive begins. Refugee Agency representative Bruno Geddo said that "Mosul has the potential to be one the largest… disasters of many, many years." according to Al Monitor.
The same day, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters "The battle for Mosul has not started yet. [The operations today] are the extension of our support for the coalition." He said that Paris is in talks with the US and other parties to organize the offensive.
"There will soon be the main attack," he said. French Rafale jets flew 32 missions in the past week, supporting Iraqi troops and destroying four targets.
In the area around Qayara, about 30 miles south of Mosul, there are four Caesar artillery systems and about 150 members of the French military, along with logistic and medical teams. The Defense Ministry stated that they are training Iraqi troops and performing tactical missions, but not yet actively engaging in combat.