Special Forces Tried to Rescue Foley
US troops landed in Syria, but hostages weren't there
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2014 6:08 PM CDT
In this June 17, 2011, photo, journalist James Foley receives applause from students at the Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter Public School in Framingham, Mass.   (AP Photo/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh)

(Newser) – It was nearly a happy ending for James Foley. US special forces mounted a secret rescue mission in Syria this summer to free Foley and other Americans, but the hostages were nowhere to be found, reports the Washington Post. Several dozen US troops landed at the unspecified location and engaged in a firefight with militants from the Islamic State, but “while on site, it became apparent the hostages were not there,” a US official tells ABC News. One US service member was injured before the troops evacuated.

“Intelligence is not a perfect science,” says a senior official. "When we got there, they weren’t there. We don’t know why that is.” The mission took place after US authorities debriefed six Western hostages who had been freed by the militants. President Obama, who promised today to "see that justice is done," authorized the mission once intelligence agencies believed they had pinpointed the site, reports AP. It's not clear how many Americans are being held, but the militants have threatened to kill freelance journalist Steven Joel Sotloff next.