Updated April 3rd, 2024 at 17:39 IST

Israeli Military Issues Apology for Airstrike Killing 7 Aid Workers in Gaza

General Halevi's admission of fault came in the form of a video statement, where he expressed deep regret for the attack on the aid convoy.

Reported by: Sagar Kar
IDF troops conduct ground operation in Southern Gaza | Image:X - @IDF
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Israel's top military commander, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, formally acknowledged on Wednesday the grave error made by the Israeli military in an airstrike that resulted in the deaths of seven humanitarian aid workers from the charity organization World Central Kitchen (WCK). 

General Halevi's admission of fault came in the form of a video statement, where he expressed deep regret for the attack on the aid convoy, terming it a "grave mistake" stemming from misidentification in challenging nighttime conditions during the ongoing conflict with Hamas. He emphasized, “It shouldn't have happened”.

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The attack drew condemnation from numerous countries 

The attack, which drew condemnation from numerous countries and international bodies, including Israel's close allies, resulted in a swift response from global leaders. President Joe Biden expressed outrage and sorrow over the deaths, stating that such incidents "simply should not happen." British Foreign Secretary David Cameron also condemned the killings as "completely unacceptable," urging Israel to provide explanations and implement necessary changes to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Here is what you need to know

According to a report from the New York Times, the victims of the airstrike, comprising a diverse group of individuals including Palestinians, Australians, Poles, Britons, and a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, were traveling in clearly marked vehicles after departing from a warehouse in Deir al Balah, central Gaza, when they came under fire. The charity organization confirmed that the Israeli military had been informed of the convoy's movements prior to the attack.

The tragic event prompted aid agencies to reassess their operations in Gaza, with WCK announcing the suspension of its activities in the region. Throughout the conflict, Palestinians and relief organizations have accused Israel of indiscriminate bombing, leading to civilian casualties—an allegation consistently denied by Israel. The targeting of aid workers from countries supporting Israel could potentially intensify international criticism of its conduct during the conflict.

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At war with Hamas, not people of Gaza, says Israel

General Halevi pledged that an independent body would investigate the incident, with the military committed to learning from the findings and sharing them with WCK. He reiterated Israel's stance that it is at war with Hamas, not the people of Gaza, expressing sorrow for the unintentional harm caused to the aid workers and their families.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed General Halevi's sentiments, stating on social media that Israel "deeply regrets the tragic incident." The swift acknowledgment and apology from Israeli authorities stand as an example of accountability amidst conflict. 

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Published April 3rd, 2024 at 17:39 IST