BAGHDAD – Despite reports that Syria denounced a violent U.S. Special Operations raid that took place near the Iraq border last week, intelligence officials in Damascus may have approved the attack, the London Times reports.
The operation, which was intended to be fast and bloodless, was meant to target Al Qaeda commander Badran Turki Hashim al-Mazidih — also known as Abu Ghadiya — an Iraqi-born terrorist in his late twenties, according to the paper.
Syrian officials — who feared Ghadiya as a threat to the secular regime in Damascus — plotted to have U.S. forces kidnap him and take him to Iraq for questioning.
But the U.S.-led raid did not go as planned. A fierce gun battle broke out following the launch of a rocket-proplled grenade from a local American compound, blowing the cover on the covert operation.
Eight people were reportedly killed in the raid, which Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem called an act of "criminal and terrorist aggression."
Officials could not confirm whether Abu Ghadiya was among the dead.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.