Senior Obama administration officials say the U.S. military launched a secret mission earlier this summer to rescue a number of Americans held captive by militants in Syria but failed to find them.
The officials say the American hostages were not at a location where the U.S. believed they were being held.
The mission was carried out by several dozen special operations troops who were on the ground inside Syria for a short period of time.
The officials detailed the mission one day after Islamic State militants announced they had beheaded one of the hostages and threatened to kill another.
The officials discussed the mission under ground rules that they would not be identified.
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