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After ISIL Beheads Foley, US Cites Attempt to Free Him in Syria, Explains

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 20 -- After the US confirmed that it was journalist James Foley who was beheaded on camera by ISIL after being forced to read a statement, later on August 20 the Pentagon issued this:

"The United States 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). This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL. Unfortunately, the mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location."

  In light of the reference to "ground components," some wonder if Syria will assert a violation of its sovereignty. Why make this announcement?

  After this question was asked, NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said:
 
We never intended to disclose this operation. An overriding concern for the safety of the hostages and for operational security made it imperative that we preserve as much secrecy as possible. We only went public today when it was clear a number of media outlets were preparing to report on the operation and that we would have no choice but to acknowledge it.

  Agence France Presse, purporting an info-graphic of journalists killed last year, listed four as killed "in Gaza." Since all other listed jurisdiction are full UN member states, some surmised AFP's nomenclature let off the hook the killer of those journalists. Despite calling it social media, hours later AFP has not responded.


 

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