One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A military operation involving specialized forces or equipment; especially one that is covert or involves unconventional tactics or objectives and is usually carried out by Special Forces (chiefly in plural).
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Popular Science Monthly. From special + operation.
special operation/ˌspɛʃl ɒpəˈreɪʃn/
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