10.2 C
New York

Airstrike that killed aid workers due to ‘misidentification’

Published:

Chief of the General Staff Herzi Halevi said an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip which killed seven aid workers was the result of a “misidentification” issue, citing a preliminary investigation into the events.

British, Australian, Polish, a US-Canadian dual citizen, and Palestinian nationals were killed when their convoy was attacked on Monday night.

The World Central Kitchen (WCK) employees were travelling in a deconflicted zone in two armoured cars branded with the WCK logo, the US-based aid organization set up by US-Spanish restaurateur José Andrés said.

Despite coordinating movements with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the convoy was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in Deir al-Balah, WCK said.

“I want to be very clear, the strike was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers,” Halevi said in the early hours of Wednesday as he announced the results of a “preliminary debrief” into the events.

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification, at night during a war in very complex conditions,” Halevi continued. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

“This incident was a grave mistake,” he added. “We are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of the WCK.”

Halevi said that an “independent body” would investigate the incident and would be completed in the coming days and its findings shared with the WCK and other international organizations.

Leaders worldwide condemned the deaths of the aid workers, while the delivery of food and supplies by ship was temporarily halted after the strike despite the growing desperation in Gaza with famine looming.

On Tuesday, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari had said the army would conduct a thorough investigation “at the highest levels” into the deaths.

Hagari paid tribute to WCK, noting that it had been one of the first organizations to assist Israel following the October 7 attacks mounted from Gaza. “The work of WCK is critical,” he said. “They fulfil a vital mission of bringing food to people in need.”

The war was triggered by the unprecedented massacre of more than 1,200 people killed by the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement and other extremist groups.

Criticism is growing of Israel’s overwhelming response given the soaring number of civilian casualties and catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Palestinians inspect the heavily damaged vehicle after the Israeli attacks target officials working ta the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK). Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Palestinians inspect the heavily damaged vehicle after the Israeli attacks target officials working ta the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK). Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

A person holds the passports belonging to deceased officials of the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), following an Israeli attack on a WCK vehicle in Deir Al-Balah. Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

A person holds the passports belonging to deceased officials of the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), following an Israeli attack on a WCK vehicle in Deir Al-Balah. Omar Ashtawy/APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Related articles

Recent articles

spot_img