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A pre-dawn raid is a military tactic that involves a group of people, usually military personnel, raiding a location in order to gain an upper hand in combat, retrieve an important document or file, or capture a specific person. The hostage is usually of high political influence or a leader of an opposing military institution. Pre-dawn raids usually occur during the early morning, when most civilians and military personnel are asleep. The force raiding then makes a covert entry across enemy lines into a civilian area or military encampment. It is then the raiding army or force's goal to carry out the mission of capturing the person, file, or to kill some of the opposing army while they are left defenseless. (via Freebase)