U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan accidentally kills American, Italian hostages
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama announced that a U.S. counter-terrorism operation that was targeting Al Qaeda accidentally killed two innocent hostages.
Multiple U.S. officials told CNN that the hostages were killed by a U.S. military drone that targeted the Al Qaeda compound in January.
One of those hostages was an American, Warren Weinstein.
Weinstein was a contractor who had been held captive by Al Qaeda since August 2011.
The other hostage, Giovanni Lo Porto, was Italian and had been held by Al Qaeda since 2012.
“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,” said Obama.
American officials say they had “no reason to believe either hostage was present” when the operation was launched.
A senior administration official told CNN that U.S. intelligence had “near certainty” that there were no hostages at the target site.
Two other Americans, who were working as Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan, were also killed.