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American aid worker killed accidentally in US drone strike on Al Qaeda compound

By Claire Cromie

An American aid worker held hostage by Al Qaeda was accidentally killed in a US drone strike, the White House has announced.

President Barack Obama said Warren Weistein was killed in January, alongside Italian hostage Giovanni Lo Porto and another American, Ahmed Farouq, an Al Qaeda leader.

The drone strike was an operation against an Al Qaeda compound near the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Another American - also an al-Qaeda member - was killed in a second US raid in the same region in January.

President Obama said he takes "full responsibility" for the deaths of the innocent hostages.

"It is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally and our fight terrorists specifically, mistakes, sometimes deadly mistakes, can occur," he said.

"But one of the things that sets America apart from many other nations, one of the things that makes us exceptional is our willingness to confront squarely our imperfections and to learn from our mistakes."

Dr. Warren Weinstein, 73, was a former Peace Corps official working on community projects in Pakistan.

He was taken hostage in 2011 when he was a USAID contract worker in Lahore, helping Pakistani families escape poverty. Gunmen stormed his apartment and took him captive before he was traded to al Qaeda.

Dr Weinstein was seen in a hostage video, pleading for his life and telling Obama "my life is in your hands". Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said he would be freed if the US stopped air strikes.

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