Carter says intensified airstrikes against Islamic State will continue
November 17, 2015
WASHINGTON — The coordinated terror attacks in Paris have galvanized French and U.S. efforts to intensify airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Monday.
On Sunday night, 10 French fighter aircraft dropped 20 bombs on Islamic State targets in Raqqa, Syria, in retaliation for a series of attacks Friday against Paris restaurants, a concert hall and a sports stadium that left at least 129 people dead and hundreds injured.
U.S. and coalition aircraft also hit a host of additional targets in Syria overnight Sunday, including a strike that took out 116 fuel trucks in an attempt to destroy the Islamic State’s access to Syrian oil revenue.
“They took some strikes last night; they’ll take some strikes again this morning,” Carter told a forum Monday night in his first public appearance since the Paris attacks. Asked if he could be more specific about the way the U.S. is increasing its attacks on Islamic State targets, and particularly about the fuel-truck strike, Carter said he wouldn’t want to go into detail and betray the coalition’s hand “because we want to do it again.”
Earlier Monday, the U.S. announced it would increase the amount of intelligence it shares with France to better defend against the terror group.
Carter said he is not as concerned about a coordinated Islamic State attack on U.S. soil as he is about another lone wolf attack, such as the July shooting at two military centers in Chattanooga, Tenn., that killed five servicemembers.
“[The Islamic State] say they have the inspiration to come here,” Carter said. “Their capability is not the same here as it is in Europe.”
On Monday, the Islamic State released a video threatening attacks on Washington, D.C., and any other coalition nations which support airstrikes in Syria.
Carter was speaking at a Wall Street Journal forum of business executives in Washington, D.C. The annual gathering invites about 100 of the nation’s top chief executive officers to meet and discuss a wide range of issues facing the U.S.