Obama takes 'full responsibility' for deaths of two hostages
President Obama on Thursday acknowledged that the U.S. killed two innocent hostages in counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda
President Obama on Thursday acknowledged that the U.S. killed two innocent hostages in counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda. Obama expressed his "deepest apologies" to the families of the two hostages, one American and one Italian. "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," Obama said at a press conference at the White House Thursday morning.
"As president and commander in chief I take full responsibility for all counterterrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovani." Warren Weinstein, an American held by al Qaeda since 2011, and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto, a hostage since 2012, were killed in the attacks. That attack also killed Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al Qaeda leader, the White House said in a statement released minutes before Obama spoke. "The operation targeted an al-Qa'ida-associated compound, where we had no reason to believe either hostage was present, located in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. "No words can fully express our regret over this terrible tragedy." A separate strike in January also killed Adam Gadahn, an American who served as a prominent spokesman for the group and went by the nickname "Azzam the American," according to the White House. Earnest's statement added that both al Qaeda leaders were not specifically targeted in the strike, because the U.S. "did not have information indicating their presence at the sites of these operations."