President Obama says the US will take "complete fault" for the deaths - one of which was a US citizen.
In January, a counterterror attach that was meant to target Al-Qaeda accidentally killed two innocent hostages, one of which was an American. Wall Street Journal confirms that Warren Weinstein, an American, and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto, were killed by a U.S. military drone that targeted the al Qaeda compound.
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President Obama spoke on the subject, appearing somber. "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," he said Thursday morning in the White House briefing room, where he apologized on behalf of the U.S. government. The White House also stated that two other Americans, both al Qaeda operatives, were also among those killed in the same region, but during different missions.
Al Qaeda leader Ahmed Farouq, who was an American citizen and deputy emir of al Qaeda was killed during this operation as well. Adam Gadahn, another American in the senior ranks of al Qaeda, was also killed by U.S. forces in the region.
It has been confirmed that while Obama did not specifically approve of the action that led to the deaths of the two innocent hostages, the missions was well within his power to stop. Still, American officials had "no reason to believe either hostage was present" when the operation was launched on a compound in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. U.S. officials also did not know that Farouq or Gadahn were present at the targeted sites and "neither was specifically targeted," Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary said in a statement.
"Unfortunately that (assessment) was not correct and the operation led to this tragic, unintended consequence," Earnest said. He continue, "Analysis of all available information has led the Intelligence Community to judge with high confidence that the operation accidentally killed both hostages."
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Both the military and President Obama have expressed their intense regret over the deaths.