April 23, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Two hostages that were being held by Al-Qaeda on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan were killed earlier this year by a US drone strike, the White House has admitted.
“It is with tremendous sorrow that we recently concluded that a US government counterterrorism operation in January killed two innocent hostages held by Al-Qaeda since 2011,” read a press release issued by the Obama administration Thursday morning.
American contractor Dr. Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian aid worker, were the innocent victims of the strike that also took the lives of one other American, Ahmed Farouq, who was said to be involved with Al-Qaida.
Adam Gadahn, another American with supposed ties to terrorism was also killed by a separate drone strike, under the same operation.
“On behalf of the US government, I offer our deepest apologies to their families,” President Barack Obama said at a press briefing on Thursday morning.
“As president and as commander-in-chief, I take full responsibility for all of our counterterrorism operations including the one that took the lives of [Weinstein and Lo Porto],” Obama said.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner then went on to say his administration was not aware that either hostage was being held at the targeted compound.
“Based on the intelligence that we had obtained at the time, including hundreds of hours of surveillance, we believed that this was an Al-Qaeda compound, that no civilians were present and that capturing these terrorists was not possible,” said the president.
An investigation has already been launched into the matter, according to the White House, who says that this incident may result in the administration retooling their drone program.
This is the first time that the US government has taken responsibility for the deaths of innocent hostages as a result of its aggressive drone warfare program.
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