US operations kill two Al Qaeda hostages Obama
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A military operation against Al Qaeda leaders in the Pak-Afghan border regions killed an American and an Italian national, the US President Barack Obama said Thursday. Both were Al Qaeda hostage, he said.
“Based on information and intelligence we have obtained, we believe that a US counterterrorism operation targeting an Al Qaida compound in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, accidentally killed Warren and Giovani this past January,” Obama told reporters at the White House.
The two hostages were American national Dr. Warren Weinstein, and an Italian, Giovani Lo Porto. “Warren and Giovanni were aid workers in Pakistan, devoted to improving the lives of the Pakistani people,” he said.
After Warren was abducted by Al Qaida in 2011, I directed my national security team to do everything possible to find him and to bring him home safely to his family. “I spoke with Warren's wife Elaine and Prime Minister Renzi of Italy. As a husband and as a father, I cannot begin to imagine the anguish that the Weinstein and Lo Porto families are enduring today,” he said.
“I realize that there are no words that can ever equal their loss. I know that there is nothing that I can ever say or do to ease their heartache,” said the US President, taking full responsibility for all American counterterrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni.
Obama said initial assessment indicates that this operational was fully consistent with the guidelines under which US conduct counterterrorism efforts in the region, which has been the focus for years, because it is the home of Al Qaida's leadership, and based on the intelligence that we had obtained at the time, including hundreds of hours of surveillance.
“We believed that this was an Al Qaida compound, that no civilians were present and that capturing these terrorists was not possible. And we do believe that the operation did take out dangerous members of Al Qaida,” he said.
“What we did not know, tragically, is that Al Qaida was hiding the presence of Warren and Giovanni in this same compound,” he added.
In an earlier statement, the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al-Qa’ida leader, was killed in the same operation that resulted in the deaths of Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Lo Porto.
“We have also concluded that Adam Gadahn, an American who became a prominent member of al-Qa’ida, was killed in January, likely in a separate US counterterrorism operation,” he said.
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