On Thursday morning, the White House announced that two Al Qaeda hostages — an American named Warren Weinstein, and an Italian national named Giovanni Lo Porto — had been killed in January by one of the United States' counterterrorism operations on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. At the time of the incident, U.S. officials did not believe either hostage was in the compound. Weinstein had been held since 2011, and Lo Porto since 2012, Newsweek reported. The president will deliver a full statement on the incident later Thursday.
Analysis of all available information has led the Intelligence Community to judge with high confidence that the operation accidentally killed both hostages. 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. No words can fully express our regret over this terrible tragedy.
The uniquely tragic nature of the operation that resulted in the deaths of two innocent hostages is something we will do our utmost to ensure is not repeated. To this end, although the operation was lawful and conducted consistent with our counterterrorism policies, we are conducting a thorough independent review to understand fully what happened and how we can prevent this type of tragic incident in the future.