All Israel

Netanyahu confirms 'tragic' IDF mistake that killed 7 international aid workers in Gaza

Australia, Poland and US demand probe into tragic incident late Monday night

Palestinians inspect the heavily damaged vehicles after the killing of officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen WCK, in Dair El-Balah, Gaza Strip, April 2, 2024 (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/apaimages via REUTERS).

Seven aid workers holding American, British, Australian and Polish citizenships were killed in a blast on Monday night while traveling in two vehicles after delivering food in central Gaza, according to an announcement from World Central Kitchen (WCK) on Tuesday.

The non-profit aid organization stated it would immediately halt its operations in the area.

“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. This is unforgivable,” said CEO of WCK Erin Gore.

José Andrés, a celebrity chef and the aid organization’s founder, demanded that Israel “stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives lost.”

WCK said in its statement that the team “was traveling in a deconflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle."

"Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza.”

Later on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the Israeli army had mistakenly fired on the vehicles.

"Unfortunately, in the past day there was a tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants in the Gaza Strip. 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," he said.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said he had called Andrés and expressed condolences on behalf of the Israeli army.

He also conveyed the IDF's grief over the incident to the aid worker's home countries in an English-language video statement.

“Last night, an incident took place in Gaza that resulted in the tragic death of World Central Kitchen employees as they fulfilled their vital mission of bringing food to people in need,” he said.

“As a professional military committed to international law, we are committed to examining our operations thoroughly and transparently,” he continued. “We have been reviewing the incident at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of what happened and how it happened.”

The IDF spokesman said the IDF's General Staff Fact-Finding Assessment (FFA) Mechanism, an independent military body responsible for investigating unusual incidents amid the war, will investigate the “serious incident.”

“For the last few months, the IDF has been working closely with the World Central Kitchen to assist them in fulfilling their noble mission of helping bring food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. WCK also came to help Israelis after the massacre of October 7th; they were one of the first NGOs here,” Hagari noted.

“The work of WCK is critical; they are on the frontlines of humanity. We will get to the bottom of this and we will share our findings transparently,” he added.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi called U.S. CENTCOM commander General Michael Kurilla overnight to update him on the initial findings on the matter. He also held a discussion with senior army officers regarding the incident during the night, Israeli media reported.

Military sources told Israeli media that this was “the worst incident we have had since the beginning of the war.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed that Australian aid worker Lalzawmi Frankcom was among the victims of the blast and demanded full accountability for her death. Australia also “requested call-in from the Israeli ambassador,” Albanese added.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family of the volunteer who was providing aid to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip,” the Polish Foreign Ministry said in a post on 𝕏.

“Poland objects to the disregard for international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians, including humanitarian workers," the ministry added.

The U.S. said it was “heartbroken and deeply troubled” by the incident, according to a statement from White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

“Humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed,” she added, urging Israel to “swiftly investigate what happened.”

World Central Kitchen accounts for more than half of non-UN aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip, according to COGAT, the IDF unit coordinating humanitarian aid in the enclave.

The WCK was instrumental in the creation of a maritime aid route to Gaza, with its founder Andrés traveling to Tel Aviv to charm Israeli officials into supporting his initiative, according to the Wall Street Journal.

WCK also recently organized a tugboat that brought 200 tons of food from Cyprus to Gaza on a barge By its own account, since October it has delivered more than 43 million meals to the residents of Gaza.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories