‘We are sorry’: IDF chief says ‘misidentification’ led to strike on aid convoy

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

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi gives a video statement on April 3, 2024. (Screen capture/X)
IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi gives a video statement on April 3, 2024. (Screen capture/X)

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi issues an apology for last night’s deadly Israeli strike on an aid convoy in Gaza, adding that it was a result of a “misidentification,” which was being investigated and learned from.

“Last night, seven employees of the World Central Kitchen were killed,” Halevi says in a video statement — his first response to the strike that killed seven WCK workers.

“WCK is an organization whose people work across the globe, including in Israel to do good in difficult conditions. The IDF works together closely with the World Central Kitchen and greatly appreciates the important work that they do.”

He says that the IDF has already completed its preliminary probe into the strike and that the findings were shared with him at the IDF’s Southern Command base.

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification, at night, during a war, in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened,” Halevi clarified, adding that there was no “intention of harming WCK aid workers.”

The IDF has established a new humanitarian command center “to improve the way we coordinate aid distribution in Gaza,” the army chief says. “We will continue taking immediate actions to ensure that more is done to protect humanitarian aid workers.”

An “independent” body will also investigate the incident and will present its findings in the coming days, Halevi says, adding that the IDF will immediately implement its conclusions and share them with the WCK along with other relevant international organizations.

“This incident was a grave mistake. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the people of Gaza,” Halevi asserts.

“We are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK. We share in the grief of their families as well as the entire World Central Kitchen organization from the bottom of our hearts.”

“We see great importance in the continued delivery of humanitarian aid, and we will keep working to facilitate this vital effort,” he adds in an apparent plea aimed at convincing aid groups not to abandon Israel shortly after WCK suspended its operations in Gaza.

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