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Obama 'profoundly regrets' drone strike that killed US and Italian hostages

“On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families.”

Source: AP/Press Association Images

US PRESIDENT BARACK Obama today accepted “full responsibility” for the deaths of two American and Italian civilians in a CIA drone strike three months ago.

Dr Warren Weinstein, 73, an international development worker, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an aidworker, had been taken hostage by Al Qaeda in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

We believe that a US counter-terrorism operation targeting an Al Qaeda compound in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region accidentally killed Warren and Giovanni this past January.

Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Obama added that he had already notified Weinstein’s wife, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

I realise there are no words that can ever equal their loss. I know that there is nothing I could ever say or do to ease their heartache.
As president, and as commander-in-chief, I take full responsibility for all our counter-terrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni.

Source: Associated Press/YouTube

I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families.

Weinstein, a 73-year-old development worker, was abducted in August 2011. His capture came four days before his seven-year stint with the U.S. Agency for International Development was to end.

Lo Porto was an Italian aid worker who worked for the German aid group Welthungerhilfe. He went missing in Pakistan in January 2012.

Italian Prime Minister Renzi expressed his “profound pain” over Lo Porto’s death, saying the aid worker had “dedicated his life to the service of others.”

Al Qaida Video California-born Al Qaeda militant Adam Gadahn, speaking in 2008. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Separately, a White House statement confirmed that two other US citizens, albeit Al Qaeda militants, had also been inadvertently killed in American drone strikes during the month of January.

We have concluded that Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al-Qa’ida leader, was killed in the same operation that resulted in the deaths of Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Lo Porto.
We have also concluded that Adam Gadahn, an American who became a prominent member of al-Qa’ida, was killed in January, likely in a separate U.S. Government counterterrorism operation.
While both Farouq and Gadahn were al-Qa’ida members, neither was specifically targeted, and we did not have information indicating their presence at the sites of these operations.

Contains reporting from the Associated Press.

Read: The US has begun flying armed drones over Iraq>

Read: Mother of killed James Foley felt like “annoyance” to US government>

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