Israel Admits Strike Killed 7 WCK Aid Workers, Dismisses Two Officers and Reprimands Others

Israel Admits Responsibility for NGO Strike:

Israel’s military said they dismissed two officers from their positions on April 5th, Friday, and reprimanded others after an IDF strike in Gaza, Palestine, killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers after previously striking two other vehicles they were fleeing in. After the aid workers disembarked from the first car, they reportedly even called military contacts at the WCK, but seconds later another missile hit their car, according to Haaretz, before finally a third drone missile hit their third car in the aid convoy, killing those inside who had just fled inside the vehicle. Over 220 humanitarian workers have been killed so far since October 7th, with 30 killed in the line of duty, according to the UN.

“At some point, when the convoy was driving along the approved route, the war room of the unit responsible for security of the route ordered the drone operators to attack one of the cars with a missile. Some of the passengers were seen leaving the car after it was hit and switching to one of the other two cars. They continued to drive and even notified the people responsible that they were attacked, but, seconds later, another missile hit their car. The third car in the convoy approached, and the passengers began to transfer to it the wounded who had survived the second strike – in order to get them out of danger. But then a third missile struck them. All seven World Central Kitchen volunteers were killed in the strike.”

 An IDF infographic showing the area in which the strike on the World Central Kitchen aid convoy occurred. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

According to the IDF, a truck, among other aid vehicles, had joined the convoy half an hour earlier, and on top of that truck’s roof there had been an armed Hamas suspect who climbed on. Later, at a warehouse, the WCK convoy split from the aid trucks and left without the truck on which the targeted man was located. Despite this, as well as the clear markings on the vehicles on the sides and top, the security detail for the convoy ordered the drone operators to attack. Israel’s military had full awareness of the affiliation of the NGO and the plans for the route on which the three aid cars were taking, a route that was preapproved and coordinated with the IDF. An Elbit Hermes 450 drone was used to carry out the strikes.

In a Washington Post article written on the same day, it is reported that aid groups in Gaza “warned that the system used to coordinate their deliveries with Israel’s military was broken, putting the lives of relief workers at risk… Over the past six months, humanitarian organizations, including Doctors Without Borders and the U.N. relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), have publicized at least nine accounts of aid convoys or buildings coming under attack, despite their routes or coordinates being shared with Israeli authorities in advance. Nearly 200 Palestinian aid workers have been killed, according to Humanitarian Outcomes, an organization that tracks aid-worker deaths.”

These recent strikes have led to a massive decrease in aid to Gaza, where in the north people have been surviving on an average of 245 calories a day since January, according to humanitarian group Oxfam.

The IDF statement on the strike and the dismissals:

“Following a misidentification, the forces attacked the three WCK vehicles, based on the misunderstanding that there were Hamas operatives in them, thus resulting in the death of seven innocent humanitarian aid operatives. The attack on the three vehicles was carried out in serious violation of the relevant orders and instructions.

After the findings of the investigation were presented, and following the dire consequences of the incident, the Chief of Staff decided to take the following command steps: against the brigade support commander, an officer with the rank of major, removal procedures will be taken. Removal procedures will be taken against the brigade commander, an officer with the rank of colonel in the reserves.

In addition, processes of command reprimand will be taken against the brigade commander and the commander of division 162. Also, the Chief of Staff decided to reprimand the commander of the Southern Command for his overall responsibility for the incident.”

The IDF has also said going forward it will attempt to begin branding aid vehicles with stickers visible to drone’s thermal cameras, the WCK had a sticker but the IDF says it was not visible due to it being night. They said also they would open a new border crossing and work on coordination between military command structures.

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