Report: US attempted rescue mission for Sotloff and Foley in Syria

Turkey denies US access to a base to launch the rescue attempt due to concerns over its hostages still being held by Islamic State militants in Iraq, says the 'Wall Street Journal'.

September 7, 2014 11:57
1 minute read.
James Foley execution

Islamic State terrorist and James Foley. (photo credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)


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The US failed in its attempt to rescue hostages Steven Sotloff and James Foley from Islamic State terrorists in July due to intelligence lapses, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The US Joint Special Operations team rehearsed the mission weeks before the raid at a base in North Carolina, based on the intelligence they had at the time. The troops waited for a few days to get state approval to go ahead with the mission.

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An unnamed defense official said that "[t]here were lots of rehearsals. They were ready for a period of time. It was a matter of waiting on a decision. Once the decision was made, they went." Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the time approval waiting period took less than two days.

The mission was only supposed to take 20 minutes, but once soldiers reached the target on the ground, a makeshift prison near an oil rig, it became evident that the hostages had already been moved to a different location about three days prior.

The survival of the hostages was already rated as low, but US president Barack Obama still approved going through with the high-risk operation, according to the report.

The article also went on to state that Turkey was intended to be the mission's launch point, due to the nation's close proximity to Syria. However, Turkey, with concerns over 49 of its own nationals under Islamic State captivity in Iraq, denied the request.

Another country eventually agreed to provide the US use of a base, under the condition of anonymity.

James Foley was eventually killed in a beheading on August 19 and Steven Sotloff was killed in the same manner on September 2.

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