US admits killing three Americans, two who served al-Qaida

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from MSNBC,

Warren Weinstein in England in 2009

An American held by al-Qaida for four years, and two other U.S. citizens who fought for the terror group, were killed in U.S. military strikes in January along the Afghan-Pakistan border, the U.S. government acknowledged for the first time Thursday. An Italian citizen held hostage since 2012 was also killed in one of the strikes on an al-Qaida compound.

President Obama said he has launched a full review of the military operations that led to the deaths. “We will identify the lessons we can learn from this tragedy. We will do our utmost to ensure it will not be repeated,” he said in a televised statement at the White House.

In all, seven Americans have been killed in drone strikes, six of them not directly targeted, according to NBC News.

The surprise announcement revealed that Warren Weinstein, a 73-year-old U.S. aid worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2011 and pleaded for his life in a video released by the group, was killed in January in a U.S. drone strike. According to a statement from White House spokesman Josh Earnest, Weinstein was killed along with Ahmed Farouq, a U.S. citizen and al-Qaida fighter. Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian citizen who was kidnapped in 2012, was also killed in that strike.

A separate strike, also in January, killed Adam Gadahn, a long-sought American who worked for al-Qaida and was on the FBI’s most-wanted list.

“I profoundly regret what happened,” Obama said of the deaths of the hostages. “On behalf of the U.S. government I offer my deepest apologies to the families.” Obama said he spoke Wednesday with Weinstein’s wife and with the prime minister of Italy. “As president and as commander in chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations,” the president said.

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