‘Happens in war’: PM Netanyahu on aid workers killed by Israeli army

Tel Aviv: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an Israeli airstrike that killed seven people working for celebrity chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen charity in Gaza was unintended and “tragic”, and the military pledged an independent inquiry.

The Israeli military confirmed the deadly strike on a WCK convoy that killed citizens from Australia, Britain, and Poland as well as Palestinians and a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. WCK said they were traveling in two armored cars emblazoned with the charity’s logo and another vehicle.

The military expressed “sincere sorrow” and promised an independent investigation into the incident, which drew widespread condemnation and ratcheted up pressure for steps to ease the disastrous humanitarian situation in Gaza.

“Unfortunately in the past day there was a tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said in a video statement. “This happens in war. We are conducting a thorough inquiry and are in contact with the governments. We will do everything to prevent a recurrence.”

Britain, Australia and Poland, countries which have generally been friendly towards Israel, all demanded action to protect aid workers, underlining Netanyahu’s increasing diplomatic isolation over the situation in Gaza.

Israel has long denied accusations that it is hindering the distribution of urgently needed food aid in Gaza, which it has besieged in a war since October, saying the problem is caused by international aid groups’ inability to get it to those in need. Despite coordinating movements with the Israeli military, the convoy was hit as it was leaving its Deir al-Balah warehouse after unloading more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza by sea, WCK said.

“This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war,” said Erin Gore, chief executive of World Central Kitchen. “This is unforgivable.”

The Israeli military (IDF) said it was conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of what it called a tragic incident, and pledged an investigation by “an independent, professional and expert body”.

Image courtesy of X@IsraeliPM

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