December 13, 2017
Thursday, April 23, 2015

Obama reveals US, Italian hostages inadvertently killed in US operation

US President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the deaths of hostages during US counter-terrorism operations, from the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington.

An American and an Italian who had been held hostage for several years by al Qaeda in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan were inadvertently killed in a US counterterrorism operation in January, President Barack Obama said today.

"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 the White House.

The operation in which American doctor 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 said. Another American al Qaeda member, Adam Gadahn, was also killed, likely in a separate operation, the White House added.

US government sources said the operations involved drone strikes.

Obama said he took "full responsibility" for the operation that killed the hostages, adding, "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 target was an al Qaeda compound with no civilians present, and the operation was thought to have killed dangerous al Qaeda members, Obama said.

Obama said he had ordered details of the operation to be declassified, but it was fully consistent with counterterrorism efforts in the region.

He took no questions after his statement.

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Tags:  Obama  US  killed  operation  Al Qaeda  White House  Italy  Afghanistan  

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