Senior Israeli official laments culture of ‘shoot first, ask later’ gaining ground in IDF

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

People gather around the shell of a car used by US-based aid group World Central Kitchen, which was hit by an Israeli strike the previous day in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, April 2, 2024. (AFP)
People gather around the shell of a car used by US-based aid group World Central Kitchen, which was hit by an Israeli strike the previous day in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, April 2, 2024. (AFP)

A culture has percolated in some corners of the IDF in which soldiers are “shooting first [in Gaza] and asking questions later,” a senior Israeli official tells The Times of Israel.

The admission comes following multiple strikes on a World Central Kitchen convoy on Monday that was driving within what was supposed to be a de-conflicted humanitarian corridor. Seven WCK staffers were killed on the spot.

The senior Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity says the culture was on display in late December when troops opened fire on three Israeli hostages who managed to escape captivity and were waving a white flag when they were killed.

Both that incident and the one on Monday represented violations of the IDF’s rules of engagement, the senior official noted.

“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,” the senior Israeli official says.

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