Al-Qaeda

U.S. Drone Strike Reportedly Killed Two Hostages Held by Al-Qaeda, One American and One Italian, as well as an American Al-Qaeda Member

By Sebastian Brady
Thursday, April 23, 2015, 10:15 AM

Breaking news from the New York Times:

The White House acknowledged on Thursday that two hostages held by Al Qaeda were accidentally killed in an American government counterterrorism operation in January and said President Obama “takes full responsibility.”

In an extraordinary statement, the White House said intelligence agencies had confirmed that Warren Weinstein, an American held by Al Qaeda since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian held since 2012, died during the operation.

“The operation targeted an al-Qaeda-associated compound, where we had no reason to believe either hostage was present, located in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the statement said. “No words can fully express our regret over this tragedy.”

Two other Americans who belonged to Al Qaeda, Ahmed Farouq and Adam Gadahn, were also killed in American operations in the same region, the statement said. Neither had been specifically targeted and their presence at the sites of the operations was not known at the time, the statement said.

“The operation targeted an al-Qaeda-associated compound, where we had no reason to believe either hostage was present, located in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the statement said. “No words can fully express our regret over this tragedy.

The Wall Street Journal also has details on the strike, which apparently also killed another American member of Al-Qaeda.  (Adam Gadahn, a well-known American Al-Qaeda member, was apparently also killed in a separate operation in the region---though neither of the American al-Qaeda men were specifically targeted, according to the White House.)

The full White House statement can be found here, and a feed from President Obama's statement is below.