Dramatic attempts to rescue IS hostages fails

Special forces made two attempts to rescue hostages being held by Islamic State in their unofficial capital of Raqqa on Friday night, but were forced to abort the missions when aircraft came under heavy fire.

The Hill:

Two hostage rescue missions carried out last night in northern Syria by the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ended in failure, according to local reports. 

Coalition forces pounded Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold in Syria, with airstrikes Thursday night and, at the same time, tried to undertake two hostage rescue missions, according to Raqqa is Silently Being Slaughtered, an activist group opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

During the aerial bombardment, two helicopter gunships attempted to deploy coalition special operations forces on the ground to rescue the hostages in northeast Raqqa, but the aircraft came under heavy gunfire from ISIS, according to a report from International Business Times

A separate attempt by coalition aircraft to land was made in eastern Raqqa in the Alekershi, the International Business Times said. They were also met by gunfire and forced to take off, the activist group said. 

However, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said it could neither confirm nor deny the reports.

"We have no information on that at this time," said coalition spokesman Gary Boucher.

The reported rescue attempts come after Jordanian pilot First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh was captured by ISIS last week after his F-16 fighter jet crashed near Raqqa. 

They also come in the wake of comments made earlier this week by a Jordanian official, who said the country would undertake a hostage rescue mission to save al-Kasasbeh. 

When asked on Tuesday by NPR whether Jordan was considering possibly staging a military rescue mission, Rula Al Hroob, a member of Jordan's Parliament said, "Of course. This might be one of the actions that is already, perhaps, they're being done on the ground right now."

Islamic State is either smarter than we give them credit for to anticipate a rescue attempt during heavy airstrikes, or they had advance knowledge of the attacks. With Jordan in on the operation, anything is possible - including a leak.

No word of any casualties among our special operators but it isn't likely we'd be informed anyway. Knowing IS, time is probably running out on the Jordanian pilot who faces a horrible, public death unless another attempt to rescue him is more successful.

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