Thursday, August 21, 2014

Special Operation forces failed to rescue James Foley From Islamic State Captors in Syria




President Barack Obama ordered the secret operation, the first of its kind by the U.S. inside Syrian territory since the start of the civil war, after the U.S. received intelligence the Americans were being held by the extremist group known as Islamic State at a specific facility in a sparsely populated area inside Syria. Among the group, intelligence agencies believed at the time, was James Foley, the U.S. journalist whose beheading was shown in a grisly video released Tuesday. U.S. Special Operations forces previously mounted an unsuccessful mission inside Syria to rescue American journalist James Foley. The operation sought to rescue several Americans held by Islamic State extremists.  U.S. Special Operations forces mounted an unsuccessful mission inside Syria earlier this summer to try to rescue several Americans held by Islamic extremists, including the journalist who was beheaded this week, senior Obama administration officials said.  President Barack Obama ordered the secret operation, the first of its kind by the U.S. inside Syrian territory since the start of the civil war, after the U.S. received intelligence the Americans were being held by the extremist group known as Islamic State at a specific facility in a sparsely populated area inside Syria. Among the group, intelligence agencies believed at the time, was James Foley, the U.S. journalist whose beheading was shown in a grisly video released Tuesday.The officials declined to say precisely where and when the operation took place. But its disclosure was just the latest of several signs of a toughening American posture toward the extremist forces of Islamic State, a group that Mr. Obama Wednesday labeled a "cancer" on the Middle East. Officials said that several dozen Special Operations forces took part in the helicopter-borne operation as drones and fighter aircraft circled overhead. After landing nearby and approaching the facility by foot, the force came under small-arms fire, to which it responded, the officials said. Several fighters of the Islamic State were killed in the exchange of fire. One member of the special operations forces team was shot and slightly injured, the officials said.But the U.S. forces didn't find any of the Americans in the facility and pulled out of the area. "When the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens," Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counter terrorism, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present."
The U.S. rescue mission wasn't coordinated with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a senior U.S. official said.  As the details of the attempted rescue suggest, Mr. Foley wasn't the only Westerner being held by Islamic State operatives. Approximately 20 journalists are believed to be missing in Syria, with many held by the Islamic State, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Philip Balboni, the president and chief executive of GlobalPost, an online news site Mr. Foley worked for, said Mr. Foley's captors originally demanded a ransom sum from both the family and GlobalPost of €100 million ($132.5 million). He declined to discuss their reply to the demand. He said all communication was shared with appropriate government authorities.
Source ( The Wall Street Journal)

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