President Barack Obama is about to address the nation from the White House on several counterterrorism operations against al Qaida, in which an American hostage was killed by an American airstrike.
Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American hostage held by al Qaida, was killed along with Italian hostage Giovanni Lo Porto. Neither were believed to be in the compound on the Afghan/Pakistani border targeted by the U.S. strike. Per the Wall Street Journal:
The killing of American development expert Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto is the first known instance in which the U.S. has accidentally killed a hostage in a drone strike.
The mishap represents a major blow to the Central Intelligence Agency and its covert drone program in Pakistan, which President Barack Obama embraced and expanded after coming to office in 2009.
Per the Associated Press, American al Qaida leader Ahmed Farouq was killed during the attack as well. The White House also declassified a report claiming that American Adam Gadahn was killed in a separate strike in January. Gadahn was an American citizen who had been acting as a propagandist for al Qaida.
The latter raise legal questions about the extrajudicial killings of American citizens, though the White House said that the men were not targeted in the attacks.
“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,” the White House said in a statement. “No words can fully express our regret over this terrible tragedy.”
This is a developing story. Mediaite will add more information as it becomes available.
UPDATE — 04/23/15, 10:22 a.m. ET: Watch the full speech below, via CNN:
[Image via screengrab]
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