Officials have confirmed U.S. forces killed hostages held by al-Qaeda. A White House spokesman said a drone strike killed a U.S. and an Italian hostage in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The counter-terrorism operation, which took place in January, was ordered by the United States government and executed by the Central Intelligence Agency.
As reported by News Press, the strike was aimed at “an al-Qaeda-associated compound.” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there was no indication that any hostages were being held at the compound.
The American victim was identified as Dr. Warren Weinstein, who was taken hostage in 2011. The Italian victim was taken hostage in 2012.
FULL STORY: American & Italian held hostage by al Qaeda killed by US drone strikes http://t.co/Azs2LLVWMf pic.twitter.com/R8kBlBpNzr
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) April 23, 2015
Earnest confirmed two other Americans, who were prominent members of al-Qaeda, were killed in similar counter-terrorism operations. The victims were identified as Ahmed Farouq and Adam Gadahn. Although Farouq and Gadahn were prominent members of al-Qaeda, officials said they were not “specifically targeted” in the drone strike.
BREAKING: US counterterrorism operation killed an American and an Italian hostage held by al Qaeda, White House says pic.twitter.com/LsHzUKwUGY
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) April 23, 2015
As reported by ABC News, President Barack Obama confirmed reports that U.S. forces killed the hostages, and took “full responsibility” for the drone strike that killed the U.S. and Italian hostage.
“I take full responsibility for a U.S. government counter-terrorism operation that killed two innocent hostages held by al Qaeda… I want to express our grief and condolences for the families of two hostages.”
Dr. Warren Weinstein, a former Peace Corps official, appeared in a 2012 video released by al-Queda. In the clip, Weinstein plead with the United States government to negotiate for his life.
“My life is in your hands… If you accept the demands, I live. If you don’t accept the demands, then I die… I’ve done a lot of service for my country, and I would hope that my country will now look after me and take care of me and meet the demands… “
Although the White House officially stated that the drone strike was “lawful and conducted consistent with… counter-terrorism policies,” government officials have ordered a “thorough independent review” of the operation.
Officials confirmed details about drone strikes, and subsequent deaths, were not reported to the public as they were classified. However, the information was recently declassified in an effort to “provide the American people with as much information as possible about… counter-terrorism operations.”
United States government officials expressed regret that the U.S. forces killed the hostages. However, they are confident that the drone strike, which killed U.S. and Italian hostages, was conducted with due diligence.
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