Israel fired three missiles at the convoy of José Andrés' NGO in Gaza

Israel used three missiles in the attack against the caravan of the American NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK), founded by Spanish chef José Andrés, in central Gaza on Monday night.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
02 April 2024 Tuesday 10:37
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Israel fired three missiles at the convoy of José Andrés' NGO in Gaza

Israel used three missiles in the attack against the caravan of the American NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK), founded by Spanish chef José Andrés, in central Gaza on Monday night. One for each vehicle that made up the convoy, according to a military source detailed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Seven humanitarian workers affiliated with the organization that distributes food and prepared meals in the strip died, citizens of Australia, the United Kingdom, Poland and two Palestinians with dual nationality (from the United States and Canada).

According to the Israeli army's preliminary report presented this Wednesday, the attack on the convoy in the city of Deir al Balah was carried out due to "misidentification." "I want to be very clear: the attack was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK humanitarian workers. It was a failure due to misidentification: at night, during a war, in very complex conditions. It should not have happened" , stated the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Herzi Halevi, when presenting the preliminary conclusions of the investigation.

These findings agree with the version offered by Haaretz, which reveals that the military suspected that a terrorist was in the caravan, since, minutes before their departure, they had detected an armed man in a truck that accompanied the caravan. Probably, the convoy had protection in case an avalanche occurred like the one that occurred in the flour massacre, on February 29, and in subsequent distributions, due to the desperation of a population threatened by famine. However, the truck and the individual in question who was traveling in it remained at the Deir al Balah warehouse, where they had finished unloading 100 tons of food.

An Israeli drone fired three times at the WCK convoy on the road between Deir al Balah and Khan Younis, despite the fact that the vehicles were clearly marked with the organization's logo and that the group had given the Israeli army the information about the time and route they were going to travel, according to the details published by the Israeli newspaper.

The attack lasted several seconds, if not minutes, as a first missile hit the vehicle leading the convoy, and the survivors ran for cover to the next vehicle. They even traveled several meters and notified those responsible about the attack. But it was also attacked by another missile seconds later. A third vehicle approached to help them and was hit again, the newspaper revealed. Two of the vehicles were armored.

Military sources confirmed to the same newspaper that the attack was the result of a lack of discipline on the part of commanders on the ground, and not due to coordination problems between the army and the humanitarian organization. According to these sources, the commanders and forces involved acted against orders and instructions.

"This incident was a serious mistake. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the people in Gaza. We apologize for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK," said the chief of staff. Halevi reported that the army has established this Wednesday a "humanitarian command center" in the south of the strip "to improve the way we coordinate the distribution of aid in Gaza."

Halevi promised that the military will "learn" from the conclusions of the "thorough investigation" that will be carried out in the coming days, "implement immediate measures and share those conclusions with WCK and other relevant international organizations."

Meanwhile, pressure from international allies asking Prime Minister Beniamín Netanyahu for explanations has grown in recent hours, including the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, who spoke personally with the Israeli leader about the death of three of the cooperators, who had British nationality.

For his part, US President Joe Biden lamented that "Israel has not done enough" to protect humanitarian workers and civilians in Gaza. The American president indicated that the investigation announced by the Israeli authorities "must be rapid, it must demand accountability and its conclusions must be made public," although he has maintained that this case "is not an isolated incident."

"This conflict has been one of the worst in recent times in terms of the number of humanitarian workers killed. This is one of the main reasons why the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult: because Israel has not done what enough to protect humanitarian workers trying to deliver aid to civilians who desperately need it," Biden criticized.

Nearly 200 humanitarian workers have died in the Gaza Strip since the war began on October 7, the vast majority members of UNRWA, the UN agency that provides the largest volume of aid to Gaza and whose operations have been banned. by Israel in the north of the enclave.

WCK announced yesterday that it was suspending its operations in the strip and its ships have returned to Cyprus with 240 tons of undelivered aid. The organization had been working inside Gaza since December, although its current mission was to establish a maritime humanitarian corridor between Cyprus and Gaza and thus overcome the enormous obstacles imposed by Israel for the delivery of aid by land.