Senior Israeli official raises concerns about soldiers’ conduct in Gaza

IDF official says WCK strike was a violation of the army’s strict rules of engagement


People gather around the carcass of a car used by US-based aid group World Central Kitchen, that was hit by an Israeli strike the previous day in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on April 2, 2024 (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

A senior IDF official has allegedly warned that some soldiers in Gaza are “shoot[ing] first and asking questions later” after criticism of a strike on an aid convoy in Gaza. 

As international anger over the killing of seven aid workers in an Israeli drone strike on Monday has grown, the senior official made the comments to The Times of Israel.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the Israeli official said that the deaths of the World Central Kitchen aid workers and the December killing of three Israeli hostages by IDF forces were both violations of the army’s strict rules of engagement in a difficult warzone.

“Soldiers are operating under immense pressure in very difficult conditions in which Hamas embeds itself within the civilian population, but the rules of engagement are designed to help deal with such conditions, and they’re too often being ignored,” said the senior Israeli official.

The admission comes as the IDF continues an internal investigation into how multiple strikes against the WCK aid convoy in a supposed de-conflicted zone were fired.

The killing of the aid workers has prompted international condemnation.

US President Joe Biden said that he was “outraged and heartbroken” after the airstrike, which killed seven aid workers, including US-Canadian dual citizen, Jacob Flickinger.

The strike also killed three British security workers: John Chapman, James (Jim) Henderson, and James Kirby.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “Israel must explain how this tragic incident happened and take immediate steps to protect aid workers and facilitate vital humanitarian operations in Gaza.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the strike as “a tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants.” He added, “this happens in war.”

The family of Briton James Kirby were said to be “disappointed” that Netanyahu did not apologise for the strike.

The Israeli PM was due to speak with US President Joe Biden on Thursday in their first call since the incident. 

The IDF said the claims made by the unnamed official were “completely untrue and utterly false”.

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