A U.S. drone strike in January targeting an Al Qaeda compound in Pakistan near the Afghan border inadvertently killed an American and an Italian who had been held hostage for years by the group, U.S. officials said on Thursday. Killed in the January drone strike were aid workers Warren Weinstein, an American held by al Qaeda since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian who went missing in Pakistan in 2012, as reported by New York Times.
President Barack Obama apologized and took “full responsibility” for all counter-terrorism operations, including this mistake. In fact, the use of drones as a weapon of war against Al Qaeda hideouts in Pakistan and Afghanistan has drawn criticism for years because the strikes have killed numerous civilians in the past.
Obama said he has ordered a full review of the matter to ensure such mistakes are not repeated.
“I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families,” Obama told reporters at the White House.
Both Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto were social workers involved in humanitarian projects in Pakistan before they were held hostage by the terrorist group.