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5 Apr, 2024 18:25

Israel fires senior officers over drone strikes

West Jerusalem has dismissed two commanders and reprimanded others over their “grave mistake” in targeting an aid convoy in Gaza
Israel fires senior officers over drone strikes

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has issued a rare admission of guilt, firing two senior officers and rebuking several others for “errors in decision-making” that led to the deaths of seven humanitarian aid workers in a drone attack earlier this week in Gaza.

A brigade fire support commander and a brigade chief of staff were dismissed over Monday’s incident, and three higher-level officers were reprimanded, the IDF said on Friday in a statement. Among those called out was the leader of Israel’s Southern Command, who bore “overall responsibility.”

An internal investigation of the drone strikes on a convoy of international aid workers found that it “should not have occurred,” the IDF said. “The strike on the aid vehicles is a grave mistake stemming from a serious failure due to a mistaken identification, errors in decision-making, and an attack contrary to the standard operating procedures.”

Investigators concluded that the officers involved thought they were targeting Hamas terrorists after misidentifying three World Central Kitchen (WCK) vehicles and mistakenly concluding that one of the passengers had a weapon slung over his shoulder. “We express our deep sorrow for the loss and send our condolences to the families and the WCK organization,” the IDF said.

Nearly 200 aid workers have reportedly been killed in Gaza and the West Bank since Israel’s war against Hamas began in October. Those who perished in Monday’s drone attack included three UK nationals, one Palestinian, a US-Canadian dual citizen, an Australian, and a Polish aid worker. The WCK vehicles were marked with the aid group’s logo, and they were traveling on an IDF-approved route after dropping off a food shipment at a warehouse in central Gaza.

Monday’s incident sparked international outrage, including a rebuke from US President Joe Biden, but Washington is continuing to supply weapons to Israel. In fact, just hours before the aid convoy was struck, the Biden administration reportedly approved plans to transfer thousands of munitions to replenish stockpiles that have been depleted by Israel’s six-month bombardment of the Palestinian enclave.

The findings of Israel’s investigation were shared with WCK and with the ambassadors of the nations whose citizens were killed, the IDF said. Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne, apologized for the incident, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejna told reporters on Friday in Warsaw. Earlier this week, Livne insisted that the attack was not a war crime and that Poles who thought otherwise were anti-Semitic.

 

 

 

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