There are over 2,500 IS fighters in the city
French fighter jets have set off on a mission against Islamic State in its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.
Eight jets took off from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the eastern Mediterranean in preparation of an offensive backed by the United States and the UK to liberate the city.
Iraqi forces are expected to lead an operation to liberate the city from IS in October, after weeks of reconnaissance missions.
American and British drones have witnessed senior IS leaders flee, but intelligence reports estimate there are between 2,500 and 3,000 fighters left in the city.
The French mission comes after Iraqi forces retook two villages on the border of Nineveh and Salahuddin provinces from IS earlier this month as part of a broader operation to secure supply lines ahead of a move on Mosul.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned up to one million Iraqis could be forced to flee their homes as the war intensifies against IS.
More than three million civilians are already displaced inside the country and 10 million people are in need of assistance.