"It is with tremendous sorrow that we recently concluded that a US Government counterterrorism operation in January killed two innocent hostages held by al-Qaeda," said the White House in a press statement on Thursday.
"Our hearts go out to the families of Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American held by al-Qaeda since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national who had been an al-Qaeda hostage since 2012."
The counterterrorism operation was carried out on an al-Qaeda compound located in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to the statement, the same strike killed Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al-Qaeda leader. Another American member of al-Qaeda, Adam Gadahn, is also believed to have been killed in January, in a separate antiterrorism operation.