MILITARY

Italy seeks to explain 3-month delay in learning of hostage death from US drone strike

Italy's foreign minister is seeking to explain to Parliament why it took three months for Italy to learn about the death of an Italian aid worker in a U.S. drone strike on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told lawmakers Friday that in an inaccessible war zone, where hostage-taking is frequent, it took that long for U.S. intelligence to verify Giovanni Lo Porto had been killed.

President Barack Obama on Thursday announced the death of Lo Porto and an American hostage during a mid-January airstrike on a suspected al-Qaida target.

Gentiloni said Obama phoned Premier Matteo Renzi late Wednesday night with the confirmation, and that Lo Porto's family was informed the following morning.

He said Italy took note of Obama's "maximum transparency" in assuming responsibility for the deaths.