An American held by al-Qaida for four years, and two other U.S. citizens who fought for the terror group, were killed in U.S. military strikes in January along the Afghan-Pakistan border, the U.S. government acknowledged for the first time Thursday. An Italian citizen held hostage since 2012 was also killed in one of the strikes on an al-Qaida compound. [...] The surprise announcement revealed that Warren Weinstein, a 73-year-old U.S. aid worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2011 and pleaded for his life in a video released by the group, was killed in January in a U.S. drone strike. According to a statement from White House spokesman Josh Earnest, Weinstein was killed along with Ahmed Farouq, a U.S. citizen and al-Qaida fighter. A separate strike, also in January, killed Adam Gadahn, a long-sought American who worked for al-Qaida and was on the FBI's most-wanted list.
The White House made a surprise announcement this morning on the results of some deadly drone strikes.
Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national who had been an al Qaeda hostage since 2012, was among those killed. The press secretary's full statement with the details is available online here.
President Obama, speaking from the briefing room, said this morning, "As president and as commander-in-chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni. I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families."
Josh Earnest added, "The operation targeted an al-Qa'ida-associated compound, where we had no reason to believe either hostage was present, located in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. No words can fully express our regret over this terrible tragedy."
April 23, 201507:33