2015-04-23T180313Z_1_LYNXMPEB3M0WL_RTROPTP_2_USA-SECURITY-HOSTAGES

U.S. strike inadvertently killed U.S., Italian hostages; Obama apologizes

American hostage Warren Weinstein is shown in this image captured from an undated video courtesy of SITE Intelligence GroupBy Will Dunham and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) – 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. President Barack Obama apologized and took “full responsibility” for all counterterrorism operations, including this one. The deaths were a setback for the long-running U.S. drone strike program that has targeted Islamist militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and has often drawn criticism in those countries and from civil liberties groups in the United States. 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 well as Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al Qaeda leader, U.S. officials said.

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