(JNS.org) President Barack Obama apologized for the deaths of two hostages who were held by the al-Qaeda terrorist group in Pakistan, admitting that Jewish-American prisoner Warren Weinstein and Italian captive Giovanni Lo Porto were accidentally killed by a U.S. airstrike in January.
“As president and as commander in chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations,” Obama said, adding that he “profoundly regrets” the deaths of Weinstein and Lo Porto and offering his “deepest apologies to the families.”
A White House statement said that two American citizens who were members of al-Qaeda, Ahmed Farouq and Adam Gadahn, were killed in the same region in Pakistan.
Weinstein, 73, was abducted in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2011. According to police reports at the time, 8-10 men approached Weinstein’s house as a ploy, tied up Weinstein’s three guards, and took him away. At the time of his capture, Weinstein had been working in Pakistan for several years as a director of J.E. Austin Associates, a U.S.-based development contractor that advises different Pakistani business and government sectors.
Mike Redwood, a leather industry expert who worked with Weinstein in Pakistan, told JNS.org in 2013 that Weinstein was “one of the cleverest and most resourceful people” he knew.