Connect with us

World

US admits it killed US, Italian hostages

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

image

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

US admits it killed US, Italian hostages
Reuters / Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: A U.S. drone strike in January targeting an al Qaeda compound in Pakistan near the Afghan border inadvertently killed an American and an Italian who had been held hostage for years by the group, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

President Barack Obama apologized and took “full responsibility” for all counterterrorism operations, including this one.

The deaths were a setback for the long-running U.S. drone strike program that has targeted Islamist militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and has often drawn criticism in those countries and from civil liberties groups in the United States.

Killed in the January drone strike were aid workers Warren Weinstein, an American held by al Qaeda since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian who went missing in Pakistan in 2012, as well as Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al Qaeda leader, U.S. officials said.

Adam Gadahn, an American al Qaeda member who was charged with treason in the United States, was also killed in a separate strike on another al Qaeda camp five days later, the officials said.

Obama said he had ordered a full review of the matter to ensure such mistakes are not repeated.

“I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families,” Obama told reporters at the White House.

Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and other lawmakers called such a review appropriate but steered clear of criticizing the drone program. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican who is often a fierce critic of the Democratic president, said Gadahn and Farouq “got what they deserved.”

U.S. officials said the drone strikes occurred inside Pakistan in the conflict-torn border region near Afghanistan. One official said the CIA had observed the compounds over some time but had no idea hostages were present.

Use of unmanned drones, which enable the United States to carry out counterterrorism operations without putting U.S. personnel directly in harm’s way, has prompted criticism because of the deaths of civilians and because on occasion they have involved killing Americans abroad without judicial process.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the government should better follow its own standards before launching drone strikes. “In each of the operations acknowledged today, the U.S. quite literally didn’t know who it was killing,” said Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director.

Lo Porto’s mother told reporters in Palermo, Sicily: “I don’t want to talk, leave me alone in my grief.”

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, speaking in Brussels, said, “I have much appreciated the transparency of the United States in taking their responsibilities for what happened and the way Obama communicated what happened.”

U.S. TREATMENT OF HOSTAGES

Weinstein’s wife, Elaine, said her family was devastated by his death. She criticized the U.S. government for “inconsistent and disappointing” assistance during her husband’s years in captivity. Obama said he spoke with her on Wednesday.

Like some other American families whose relatives have been killed over the past year after being held hostage by militants in the Middle East, Elaine Weinstein called for a better U.S. government policy for relaying information to hostages’ families.

“We hope that my husband’s death and the others who have faced similar tragedies in recent months will finally prompt the U.S. Government to take its responsibilities seriously and establish a coordinated and consistent approach to supporting hostages and their families,” she said in a statement.

U.S. congressman John Delaney of Maryland, who has helped the Weinstein family, and other lawmakers said the United States needs to do a better job handling American hostage cases.

Weinstein, 73, was abducted in Lahore, Pakistan, while working as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Al Qaeda had asked to trade him for members of the group held by the United States.

Weinstein, who lived in Rockville, Maryland, was seen in videos released in May 2012 and December 2013 asking for Obama to intervene on his behalf and saying he was suffering from heart problems and asthma.

On Thursday, yellow ribbons were tied on many trees in his Rockville neighborhood near Washington, D.C. Outside his home, there were vases and bouquets of flowers and clippings of cherry blossoms.

Italian media said Lo Porto, who was from Palermo, was kidnapped three days after arriving in Pakistan to work for a German organization building houses for victims of a 2010 flood. Another man was kidnapped with him but later freed in October 2014 by German special forces.

The White House said the Weinstein and Lo Porto families would receive compensation from the U.S. government.

TREASON CHARGE

An al Qaeda spokesman has said Farouq was the deputy head of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), which tried unsuccessfully last year to hijack a Pakistan warship.

Farouq died in a Jan. 15 drone strike in the Shawwal area of North Waziristan, AQIS said in a video on Twitter on April 12, reported by the SITE monitoring group.

Gadahn was born in Oregon, grew up in California, converted to Islam at 17 and became a spokesman and translator for al Qaeda. He was charged by the United States with treason in 2006, becoming the first person to face such U.S. charges since the World War Two era, according to the Justice Department.

The deaths of Weinstein and Lo Porto were the latest involving Western hostages held by Islamist militants. Islamic State has beheaded journalists and aid workers, while an American woman aid worker it held died in unclear circumstances in February. An American and a South African held by an al Qaeda unit in Yemen died in December in a failed rescue bid by U.S. special forces.

CIA drone strikes in Pakistan have steeply declined from a peak of around 128 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks the strikes. There have been seven drone strikes in Pakistan this year, the group said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Looking for your next home in Thailand? Let us match you with a local expert in minutes!

Thank you for your interest!

One of our agents will
reach out to you soon.

I want to:
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • United States+1
  • United Kingdom+44
  • Australia+61
  • Afghanistan (‫افغانستان‬‎)+93
  • Albania (Shqipëri)+355
  • Algeria (‫الجزائر‬‎)+213
  • American Samoa+1684
  • Andorra+376
  • Angola+244
  • Anguilla+1264
  • Antigua and Barbuda+1268
  • Argentina+54
  • Armenia (Հայաստան)+374
  • Aruba+297
  • Australia+61
  • Austria (Österreich)+43
  • Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan)+994
  • Bahamas+1242
  • Bahrain (‫البحرين‬‎)+973
  • Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)+880
  • Barbados+1246
  • Belarus (Беларусь)+375
  • Belgium (België)+32
  • Belize+501
  • Benin (Bénin)+229
  • Bermuda+1441
  • Bhutan (འབྲུག)+975
  • Bolivia+591
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (Босна и Херцеговина)+387
  • Botswana+267
  • Brazil (Brasil)+55
  • British Indian Ocean Territory+246
  • British Virgin Islands+1284
  • Brunei+673
  • Bulgaria (България)+359
  • Burkina Faso+226
  • Burundi (Uburundi)+257
  • Cambodia (កម្ពុជា)+855
  • Cameroon (Cameroun)+237
  • Canada+1
  • Cape Verde (Kabu Verdi)+238
  • Caribbean Netherlands+599
  • Cayman Islands+1345
  • Central African Republic (République centrafricaine)+236
  • Chad (Tchad)+235
  • Chile+56
  • China (中国)+86
  • Christmas Island+61
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands+61
  • Colombia+57
  • Comoros (‫جزر القمر‬‎)+269
  • Congo (DRC) (Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo)+243
  • Congo (Republic) (Congo-Brazzaville)+242
  • Cook Islands+682
  • Costa Rica+506
  • Côte d’Ivoire+225
  • Croatia (Hrvatska)+385
  • Cuba+53
  • Curaçao+599
  • Cyprus (Κύπρος)+357
  • Czech Republic (Česká republika)+420
  • Denmark (Danmark)+45
  • Djibouti+253
  • Dominica+1767
  • Dominican Republic (República Dominicana)+1
  • Ecuador+593
  • Egypt (‫مصر‬‎)+20
  • El Salvador+503
  • Equatorial Guinea (Guinea Ecuatorial)+240
  • Eritrea+291
  • Estonia (Eesti)+372
  • Ethiopia+251
  • Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)+500
  • Faroe Islands (Føroyar)+298
  • Fiji+679
  • Finland (Suomi)+358
  • France+33
  • French Guiana (Guyane française)+594
  • French Polynesia (Polynésie française)+689
  • Gabon+241
  • Gambia+220
  • Georgia (საქართველო)+995
  • Germany (Deutschland)+49
  • Ghana (Gaana)+233
  • Gibraltar+350
  • Greece (Ελλάδα)+30
  • Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)+299
  • Grenada+1473
  • Guadeloupe+590
  • Guam+1671
  • Guatemala+502
  • Guernsey+44
  • Guinea (Guinée)+224
  • Guinea-Bissau (Guiné Bissau)+245
  • Guyana+592
  • Haiti+509
  • Honduras+504
  • Hong Kong (香港)+852
  • Hungary (Magyarország)+36
  • Iceland (Ísland)+354
  • India (भारत)+91
  • Indonesia+62
  • Iran (‫ایران‬‎)+98
  • Iraq (‫العراق‬‎)+964
  • Ireland+353
  • Isle of Man+44
  • Israel (‫ישראל‬‎)+972
  • Italy (Italia)+39
  • Jamaica+1
  • Japan (日本)+81
  • Jersey+44
  • Jordan (‫الأردن‬‎)+962
  • Kazakhstan (Казахстан)+7
  • Kenya+254
  • Kiribati+686
  • Kosovo+383
  • Kuwait (‫الكويت‬‎)+965
  • Kyrgyzstan (Кыргызстан)+996
  • Laos (ລາວ)+856
  • Latvia (Latvija)+371
  • Lebanon (‫لبنان‬‎)+961
  • Lesotho+266
  • Liberia+231
  • Libya (‫ليبيا‬‎)+218
  • Liechtenstein+423
  • Lithuania (Lietuva)+370
  • Luxembourg+352
  • Macau (澳門)+853
  • Macedonia (FYROM) (Македонија)+389
  • Madagascar (Madagasikara)+261
  • Malawi+265
  • Malaysia+60
  • Maldives+960
  • Mali+223
  • Malta+356
  • Marshall Islands+692
  • Martinique+596
  • Mauritania (‫موريتانيا‬‎)+222
  • Mauritius (Moris)+230
  • Mayotte+262
  • Mexico (México)+52
  • Micronesia+691
  • Moldova (Republica Moldova)+373
  • Monaco+377
  • Mongolia (Монгол)+976
  • Montenegro (Crna Gora)+382
  • Montserrat+1664
  • Morocco (‫المغرب‬‎)+212
  • Mozambique (Moçambique)+258
  • Myanmar (Burma) (မြန်မာ)+95
  • Namibia (Namibië)+264
  • Nauru+674
  • Nepal (नेपाल)+977
  • Netherlands (Nederland)+31
  • New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie)+687
  • New Zealand+64
  • Nicaragua+505
  • Niger (Nijar)+227
  • Nigeria+234
  • Niue+683
  • Norfolk Island+672
  • North Korea (조선 민주주의 인민 공화국)+850
  • Northern Mariana Islands+1670
  • Norway (Norge)+47
  • Oman (‫عُمان‬‎)+968
  • Pakistan (‫پاکستان‬‎)+92
  • Palau+680
  • Palestine (‫فلسطين‬‎)+970
  • Panama (Panamá)+507
  • Papua New Guinea+675
  • Paraguay+595
  • Peru (Perú)+51
  • Philippines+63
  • Poland (Polska)+48
  • Portugal+351
  • Puerto Rico+1
  • Qatar (‫قطر‬‎)+974
  • Réunion (La Réunion)+262
  • Romania (România)+40
  • Russia (Россия)+7
  • Rwanda+250
  • Saint Barthélemy+590
  • Saint Helena+290
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis+1869
  • Saint Lucia+1758
  • Saint Martin (Saint-Martin (partie française))+590
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon)+508
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines+1784
  • Samoa+685
  • San Marino+378
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (São Tomé e Príncipe)+239
  • Saudi Arabia (‫المملكة العربية السعودية‬‎)+966
  • Senegal (Sénégal)+221
  • Serbia (Србија)+381
  • Seychelles+248
  • Sierra Leone+232
  • Singapore+65
  • Sint Maarten+1721
  • Slovakia (Slovensko)+421
  • Slovenia (Slovenija)+386
  • Solomon Islands+677
  • Somalia (Soomaaliya)+252
  • South Africa+27
  • South Korea (대한민국)+82
  • South Sudan (‫جنوب السودان‬‎)+211
  • Spain (España)+34
  • Sri Lanka (ශ්‍රී ලංකාව)+94
  • Sudan (‫السودان‬‎)+249
  • Suriname+597
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen+47
  • Swaziland+268
  • Sweden (Sverige)+46
  • Switzerland (Schweiz)+41
  • Syria (‫سوريا‬‎)+963
  • Taiwan (台灣)+886
  • Tajikistan+992
  • Tanzania+255
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • Timor-Leste+670
  • Togo+228
  • Tokelau+690
  • Tonga+676
  • Trinidad and Tobago+1868
  • Tunisia (‫تونس‬‎)+216
  • Turkey (Türkiye)+90
  • Turkmenistan+993
  • Turks and Caicos Islands+1649
  • Tuvalu+688
  • U.S. Virgin Islands+1340
  • Uganda+256
  • Ukraine (Україна)+380
  • United Arab Emirates (‫الإمارات العربية المتحدة‬‎)+971
  • United Kingdom+44
  • United States+1
  • Uruguay+598
  • Uzbekistan (Oʻzbekiston)+998
  • Vanuatu+678
  • Vatican City (Città del Vaticano)+39
  • Venezuela+58
  • Vietnam (Việt Nam)+84
  • Wallis and Futuna (Wallis-et-Futuna)+681
  • Western Sahara (‫الصحراء الغربية‬‎)+212
  • Yemen (‫اليمن‬‎)+967
  • Zambia+260
  • Zimbabwe+263
  • Åland Islands+358

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

image

Follow Thaiger by email:

image
Bangkok11 hours ago

Bangkok’s new governor posts video of his maskless jog

image
Pattaya11 hours ago

Sewage nightmare continues for Pattaya village after years

image
Drugs13 hours ago

Thai PM bans cannabis and hemp use on military premises

image
image
Crime13 hours ago

From Pattaya with Love, or How To Win Friends and Taser People!

image
Thailand13 hours ago

Largest instant noodle convenience store

image
Thailand14 hours ago

Thai singer eats protected lizard, faces backlash

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
image
Weather15 hours ago

Storm rips apart villages in Northeast Thailand

image
Pattaya17 hours ago

Pattaya’s Jomtien Beach vendors are putting up a fight over new rules

image
Patong18 hours ago

Motorbike engulfed in flames on Patong Hill, driver left uninjured

image
Kanchanaburi19 hours ago

Police raid Kanchanaburi resorts for land encroachment

image
Tourism20 hours ago

Thailand is open NOW – masks off, bars open until 2am

image
Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | Backlash over sloppy happy plant guidelines

image
Crime1 day ago

Thai woman confesses to beating 6 year old granddaughter to death with pestle

image
Economy1 day ago

Thai officials say price of bagged rice won’t jump

image
Phuket1 day ago

Phuket officials say local Sunday market rakes in 2 million baht a week

image
Thailand9 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

image
Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

image
Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

image
Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

image
Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending

By continuing to use our site you consent to the use of cookies as described in our privacy policy.