IDF suspends officers responsible for strike on aid convoy

The Israeli military announced the conclusion of an investigation into the deaths of seven employees of the World Central Kitchen


The WCK car after the blast (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

The IDF has suspended senior officers involved in the airstrike on the World Central Kitchen aid convoy after an investigation.

The IDF’s investigation into Monday's attack found that some WCK workers survived the initial airstrike but were killed when another car that they sheltered in was hit. The first strike was a case of false identity, the second and the third were "grave mistakes" according to the IDF. According to the IDF, officers initially believed they were targeting armed Hamas operatives and not aid workers.

The army’s investigation into the killing of seven aid workers has resulted in the suspension of senior officers from the unit involved in the incident from their duties. At least two high-ranking officials have been dismissed from their positions and two others will be “formally reprimanded.”

It is still to be determined if there was any criminal conduct during the incident.

In a statement, the Israeli army said: “We express our deep sorrow for the loss and send our condolences to the families and the WCK organization.”

“Those who approved the strike were convinced that they were targeting armed Hamas operatives and not WCK employees. The strike on the aid vehicles is a grave mistake stemming from a serious failure due to mistaken identification, errors in decision-making, and an attack contrary to the Standard Operating Procedures.

“The brigade fire support commander, an officer with the rank of major, will be dismissed from his position. The brigade chief of staff, an officer with the rank of colonel in reserve, will be dismissed from his position. Additionally, the brigade commander and the 162nd Division commander will be formally reprimanded. The IDF Chief of Staff decided to formally reprimand the commander of the Southern Command for his overall responsibility for the incident.

“We consider the vital humanitarian activity of international aid organizations to be of utmost importance, and we will continue to work to coordinate and assist their activities while ensuring their safety and safeguarding their lives.”

The army committed to “learn the lessons of the incident and will incorporate them into the IDF's ongoing operations.”

The IDF announcement concluded: “The incident should not have occurred.” 

The WCK called the investigation an “important step” but demanded “the creation of an independent commission to investigate the killings of our WCK colleagues. The IDF cannot credibly investigate its own failure in Gaza.”

British foreign secretary Lord Cameron said in a statement on Twitter: “We are carefully reviewing the initial findings of Israel’s investigations into the killing of WCK aid workers and welcome the suspension of two officers as a first step.

“These findings must be published in full and followed up with a wholly independent review to ensure the utmost transparency and accountability.”

The WCK attack has prompted international condemnation, with US President Joe Biden “outraged” and UK Prime Minister Rish Sunak “appalled” by the attack which killed one US citizen and three UK citizens, among others. Yesterday Joe Biden said that his country’s continued support of Israel was dependent on the country taking concrete steps to protect civilians in Gaza.

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