US forces have carried out heavy airstrikes on Raqqa, multiple news sources report Friday, as part of a military operation to save a Jordanian pilot captured last week by Islamist terrorists during a mission in Syria.
Fighter jets early Friday morning heavily bombed the area surrounding the house where the pilot, Moaz Safi Yousef al-Kassasbeh, is allegedly being held by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in Raqqah, according to the Turkish Anadolou news agency.
The goal: to allow two US military helicopters to swoop in for a rescue mission to save the pilot, according to Syrian news sources - a mission which failed when heavy fire prevented the helicopters from entering the area safely to make the rescue.
At least thirteen strikes were reportedly carried out in Raqqah, and the helicopters were sent in at a very low altitude to facilitate the rescue.
But the failed attempt has only put the pilot at greater risk, according to Lebanese news agency Al-Mayadan, and now ISIS has pledged to execute al-Kassasbeh by the end of Friday.
On Wednesday, the United States said that al-Kassabeh's Jordanian F-16 warplane was not shot down by the Islamic State (ISIS) as the group has claimed - even though ISIS has been confirmed to have taken him captive.
Cruelly, ISIS published in its Dabiq magazine an interview with al-Kassabeh Monday, boasting of their capture before he is to be executed.
In the piece, al-Kassasbeh describes his mission as being to destroy anti-aircraft weapons on the ground and to provide cover for the strike aircraft. He noted that he left from a military base in east Jordan and also described how the US-led international coalition partners work to destroy the group.
The family of the pilot has begged the organization to release him.
The group has executed nearly 6,000 people in Syria alone in the past six months.