A U.S. Special Operations team tried and failed to rescue James Foley and other Americans held captive in Syria in a secret mission earlier this summer. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby released a statement, saying the U.S. "attempted a rescue operation recently to free a number of American hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)." However, it "was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location." According to senior administration officials, several dozen commandos were dropped into a remote part of Syria where American intelligence believed many of the hostages were being held. They exchanged gunfire with militants. One American was wounded, but all team members made it out alive.
Josh Rogin reports British jihadists are suspected as responsible for Foley's execution and his kidnapping in November 2012. A former hostage told The Guardian that the executioner in the Foley beheading video was one of three U.K. citizens in charge of holding foreign hostages in the Syrian city of Raqqa who are known as the "Beatles."
Earlier on Wednesday, the news site Global Post said it had received an email from ISIS last week warning about Foley's impending execution. The publication said it notified The White House, which did not negotiate for Foley's release. The Pentagon's announcement sheds new light on U.S. attempts to retrieve Foley and other kidnapped Americans. “We obviously wish this had been successful," said a senior administration official.