A US raid against al-Qaeda in January killed two hostages being held by the extremist group, an announcement that elicited President Barack Obama's condolences and regret Thursday.
The White House said the raid launched on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan killed two aid workers. Warren Weinstein was an American doctor who was held by the militants since 2011. Italian Giovanni Lo Porto was held since 2012.
The US president said surveillance led intelligence to target an al-Qaeda compound on the border of Pakistan and believed there were no civilians in the area when the raid took place. The hostages were hidden in the compound during the attack, leading to their deaths.
In his White House address, Obama said he took "full responsibility" for the incident, which also killed al-Qaeda extremists, including a leader believed to be Ahmed Farouq.
"It is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally and our fight against terrorists specifically, mistakes — deadly mistakes — can occur," Obama said. "I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families."
Obama said he will request the details of the case to be open to the public as soon as the causes of death for the hostages are confirmed.
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