U.S. Special Operations forces staged an unsuccessful operation this summer to rescue photojournalist James Foley and other Americans being held in Syria by Islamic State militants, according to senior Obama administration officials.

The attempt, in which at least one U.S. serviceman was injured, came after at least six Western hostages freed by the militants had been debriefed by U.S. intelligence.

“The president authorized earlier this summer an operation to attempt the rescue of American citizens held by ISIL,” one of the acronyms used to refer to the Islamic State, said a senior official who provided information on the mission on condition of anonymity. […]