Israeli military dismisses two officers over strikes that killed aid workers

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Israeli military dismisses two officers over strikes that killed aid workers

Three others have also been reprimanded for their roles in the strikes in Gaza on Monday evening

Vehicle used by World Central Kitchen is targeted in Israeli airstrike, killing 7. (pic X)
Vehicle used by World Central Kitchen is targeted in Israeli airstrike, killing 7. (pic X)

The Israeli military has dismissed two of its officers over the drone strikes which killed seven aid workers.

Mishandling of critical information and violations of the army’s rules of engagement have been cited as the reasons for the dismissal.

Three others have also been reprimanded for their roles in the strikes in Gaza on Monday evening.

Three Britons were among the World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers who died in the strikes – John Chapman, 57, James “Jim” Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47.

WCK founder Jose Andres claimed the Israeli military knew of his aid workers’ movements and targeted them “systematically, car by car”.

Following Israel’s announcement, the WCK said the Israeli investigation is an important step but added that there needs to be a systemic change to prevent “more apologies and more grieving families”.

In a statement the charity said: “The IDF has acknowledged its responsibility and its fatal errors in the deadly attack on our convoy in Gaza. It is also taking disciplinary action against those in command and committed to other reforms. These are important steps forward.

“However, it is also clear from their preliminary investigation that the IDF has deployed deadly force without regard to its own protocols, chain of command and rules of engagement.

“The IDF has acknowledged that our teams followed all proper communications procedures. The IDF’s own video fails to show any cause to fire on our personnel convoy, which carried no weapons and posed no threat.

“Without systemic change, there will be more military failures, more apologies and more grieving families.

“The root cause of the unjustified rocket fire on our convoy is the severe lack of food in Gaza. Israel needs to dramatically increase the volume of food and medicine traveling by land if it is serious about supporting humanitarian aid.”

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns said it was “devastating” that it had taken six months and the deaths of western aid workers for Israel to change course over the supply of international humanitarian aid.

The chairwoman of the foreign affairs select committee told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “It’s devastating that it’s taken six months for us to get to a point it appears the international community is able to influence Israel’s perpetration of this war.

“This has been the challenge over the last six months is that as I’ve gone around the world, so many people have said to me ‘why can’t you force Israel to do this?’. Well, Israel is our ally and we do not control them.

“And it has been the point, the phrase you have heard from interlocutor after interlocutor is that Israel is not listening. That does appear to have changed.

“The priority for now is very much making sure for aid to be getting in and that famine must be stopped.”

Ms Kearns rejected claims the air strikes were a mistake, arguing that the cars were clearly marked and their locations had been shared with the Israeli military.

She added: “It is one thing to strike one car, and then you might say well let’s look at exactly what this vehicle is, but they then went on to triple tap, car by car by car.”

Ms Kearns continued: “This is something that is happening on a daily basis, in terms of the attacks on humanitarians, and we are not seeing this outcry about Palestinian volunteers.”

Killed alongside their British colleagues were the relief team’s leader, Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, 43, an Australian national, American-Canadian dual citizen Jacob Flickinger, 33, Polish national Damian Sobol, 35, and their driver Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25.
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