Two Hostages Killed During US Drone Strike

By on April 23, 2015
drone strike

Two Hostages Killed During US Drone Strike

drone strike

Two hostages, one American and one Italian who had been held for several years by Al-Qaeda in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan were unintentionally killed by a drone strike in a U.S. counterterrorism plot in January, President Barack Obama said on Thursday.

“I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families,” Obama said in an appearance at a White House press conference.

The operation in which American physician Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto were killed also resulted in the death of an American Al-Qaeda leader, Ahmed Farouq, the White House also announced. Another American Al-Qaeda member, Adam Gadahn, was also killed.

The U.S. admits that these deaths were all resulting from a drone strike. President Obama said he took “full responsibility” for the operation that killed the hostages. “It is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally and our fight (against) terrorists specifically, mistakes, sometimes deadly mistakes, can occur.”

The United States had believed the drone strike target was a terrorist compound with no civilians present, and the operation was thought to have killed dangerous Al-Qaeda members.

Weinstein, 73 was abducted in Lahore, Pakistan, back in 2011 while working for a U.S. consulting firm. Al-Qaeda wanted to trade him for members of the Islamist militant group being held by the United States.

Weinstein was seen in videos released in May 2012 and December 2013, asking for Obama to intervene on his behalf and saying he was suffering from serious medical problems. Lo Porto had been missing in Pakistan since January 2012.

“As a husband and as a father, I cannot begin to imagine the anguish that the Weinstein and Lo Porto port families are enduring today … I know that there is nothing that I can ever say or do to ease the heartache,” Obama said.

The White House said that while the operation “was lawful and conducted consistent with our counterterrorism policies, we are conducting a thorough independent review to understand fully what happened and how we can prevent this type of tragic incident in the future.”

Weinstein’s wife, Emily, said in a statement that his family was devastated and still did not fully understand all the facts surrounding his death.

“We were so hopeful that those in the U.S. and Pakistani governments with the power to take action and secure his release would have done everything possible to do so and there are no words to do justice to the disappointment and heartbreak we are going through,” she wrote.

Italian media said Lo Porto, who was from Palermo, Sicily, was kidnapped three days