Friday 18 August 2017

Obama 'profoundly regrets' deaths of hostages

US president Barack Obama
US president Barack Obama

President Barack Obama has said he "profoundly regrets" the accidental deaths of an American and an Italian hostage in a US counter-terrorism operation in January on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Two separate US drone strikes killed the the two hostages and two Americans who died in US counter-terrorism operations against al Qaida targets in January, a US government official has said.

The official said one drone strike was on January 14 and the other on January 19.

The deaths were announced today by the White House.

The US government official said the drone strikes were in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area but was not more specific

US president Barack Obama has expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the operation.

Mr Obama said he took "full responsibility" for the operation that inadvertently killed an American and an Italian hostage held by al Qaida.

He added he profoundly regrets the deaths of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto.

The president said the men were killed during a mission that targeted an al Qaida compound in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He says the mission was "fully consistent" with guidelines for conducting counter-terrorism missions in the region.

Mr Obama says there was no information showing the hostages were being held at the al Qaida compound.

Press Association

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