United States President Barack Obama has confirmed that two hostages held by Al Qaeda were accidentally killed in a US counterterrorism operation, expressing grief and condolences for the drone strike.
In a public address from the White House, Obama said he took full responsibility for the operation and apologized to the families of the hostages.
“I profoundly regret what happened,” he said.
“I take full responsibility for a U.S. government counterterrorism operation that killed two innocent hostages held by al Qaeda,” President Obama said today.
“Analysis of all available information has led the Intelligence Community to judge with high confidence that the operation accidentally killed both hostages,” according to the statement.
“The operation targeted an al-Qaeda-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.”
“Already, I have directed a full review of what happened. We will identify the lessons that can be learned from this tragedy, and any changes that should be made. We will do our utmost to ensure it is not repeated, and we will continue to do everything we can to prevent the loss of innocent lives, not just innocent Americans, but all innocent lives, in our counterterrorism operations.”