ROCKVILLE, Md. (MEDIA GENERAL) – Al Qaida operatives abducted Warren Weinstein in August 2011 and Weinstein’s wife and two daughters have been praying for his release ever since. Today, they learned he was killed accidentally in an American mission that targeted an al-Qaida compound in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Weinstein, 73, lived in Rockville, Maryland with his wife. He served with the Peace Corps and USAID, and he also kept a home in Lahore, Pakistan.
In August, 2014, Elaine Weinstein told her local newspaper, the Gazette.Net http://www.gazette.net/article/20140812/NEWS/140819701/1094/family-of-kidnapped-rockville-man-maintains-hope-of-safe-return&template=gazette , that her husband loved Pakistan’s food, music and culture.
“He was practically Pakistani,” she told the paper.
When he was pistol-whipped and kidnapped by al-Qaida operatives, it was just four days before he was scheduled to return home.
Weinstein leaves behind two adult daughters, Jennifer Coakley of Clarksburg and Alisa Weinstein.
Alisa told CNN http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/04/us/warren-weinstein-al-qaeda-hostage/ in June 2014 that she was concerned about her father’s health. She said he had a heart condition and severe asthma. She told CNN a video released by al-Qaida of her father showed he was weak and not in good health.
Weinstein was in Pakistan working for J.E. Austin Associates Inc., a U.S. consulting firm based in Arlington, Virginia, that contracts with USAID.
On Thursday, President Obama offered his condolences and apologies to Weinstein’s family. He said Weinstein’s work benefitted people of all faiths.
“He devoted his life to people across Africa and south Asia. He willingly left the comforts of home to help the people of Pakistan,” Obama said. The president also said al-Qaida claimed to continue to hold Weinstein, in part, because of his Jewish faith.
Congressman John Delaney (MD-6) released a statement following the news of Weinstein’s death.
“Today’s news is a personal tragedy for Warren’s family but also a sobering national security and government failure. As Warren’s representative, I feel like his country failed him in his greatest time of need.
Weinstein was not the only al-Qaida captive killed accidentally in the operation. Giovanni Lo Porto of Italy also died.
Obama said there was no information showing the hostages were being held at the al-Qaida compound when the attack took place.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)