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2 Apr, 2024 20:04

IDF deliberately targeted aid convoy – media

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier described deaths of seven humanitarian workers as “tragic” and “unintentional”
IDF deliberately targeted aid convoy – media

Israel fired missiles on three separate occasions at an aid convoy in Gaza on Monday, killing all involved, because of a suspicion that a Hamas operative was traveling with the group, Haaretz has reported, citing defense sources.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that an IDF strike had killed seven humanitarian workers in the Palestinian enclave, saying its forces had “unintentionally hit innocent people” in a “tragic” incident.

Reporting by Haaretz, however, suggests the convoy was intentionally targeted. The outlet’s defense sources said the cars were “clearly marked on the roof and sides” with the WCK logo, but that an IDF unit responsible for the security of the route “identified an armed man” with the group and “suspected that he was a terrorist.”

After unloading food aid at a warehouse, the convoy was driving back along the IDF-approved route, when the unit “ordered the drone operators to attack one of the cars with a missile.”

The sources told Haaretz, however, that the man who had ostensibly been armed and on the food truck, never left the warehouse.

The convoy was hit three times in succession, they said, explaining that some passengers of the car hit first were seen exiting the vehicle and “even notified the people responsible that they were attacked.”

Seconds later, another missile hit the car, the sources said. As the third car approached, passengers were attempting to transfer the wounded into it when a third missile hit them. All seven were killed in the strikes.

The defense sources told Haaretz the incident was “frustrating” because the IDF is “trying its hardest to accurately hit terrorists” and utilizing all intelligence available, only to have some units “decide to launch attacks without any preparation.”

Separately, an investigation by Al Jazeera’s Sanad Verification Agency found that Israel “deliberately targeted” the cars in “three consecutive attacks”. The outlet used open-source information, witness testimonies, as well as images from the site, to put together a chronological and geographical timeline of the incident. 

World Central Kitchen (WCK) “immediately” paused its operations in the region following the deaths, as Israel continues to block aid into northern Gaza amid warnings from the United Nations and NGOs of imminent famine. CEO Erin Gore called the deaths “unforgivable”.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the Palestinian militants carried out a surprise cross-border raid on October 7 last year, killing some 1,100 people and taking more than 200 hostages. The Israeli military campaign has since left at least 32,000 people dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said last month that 165 of its aid workers have been killed since the latest conflict broke out.

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