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Apr 5, 2024, 8:53am EDT
Middle East
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Semafor Signals

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Two Israel soldiers to be removed after World Central Kitchen strike

Insights from Politico, Semafor, The Wall Street Journal, and Bellingcat

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FILE PHOTO: A person looks at a vehicle where employees from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), including foreigners, were killed in an Israeli airstrike, according to the NGO as the Israeli military said it was conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this "tragic" incident, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza, Strip April 2, 2024. REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot//File Photo
REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot//File Photo
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Israel will remove two senior officers from their posts after a military investigation into drone strikes on an aid convoy in Gaza deemed the attack a “serious mistake” which ran against the force’s “orders and open-fire regulations.”

A probe into the strikes, which killed seven people, found that they were ordered after Israeli forces believed they had identified a Hamas gunman traveling with World Central Kitchen employees, the Times of Israel reported.

“The attack on the aid vehicles is a serious mistake, which stemmed from a serious failure, as a result of wrong identification, a mistake in decision-making and an attack contrary to the orders and open-fire regulations,” the Israeli military said.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Israel faced massive backlash over WCK strikes

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Sources:  
Politico, Semafor

The three strikes on WCK’s convoy prompted widespread condemnation from the international community, including from the U.S.: President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington’s support for the war in Gaza depended on Israel better addressing the dire humanitarian situation in the enclave. His remarks in part drove Israel to open up increased aid routes into Gaza, though Netanyahu’s office has said the increased access was “temporary.” The notoriety of WCK — founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, whose restaurants are famous in Washington — made the issue more prominent. The Israelis “have some answering to do,” one defense official told Politico this week.

Soldiers reportedly misidentified a bag as a weapon

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Source:  
The Wall Street Journal

The Israeli team that ordered the strikes on the WCK convoy misidentified a bag slung over someone’s shoulder as a weapon, The Wall Street Journal reported. Such a finding is not enough to justify carrying out a strike under Israel’s usual rules of engagement — though the military does not publicize its operating strategies, making it impossible to know what procedures it typically uses, the Journal noted. The military also has not publicized video of photographs of the incident.

Strike on WCK had ‘precision’

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Source:  
Bellingcat

The Israeli government initially said that the strikes were unintentional, but photos gathered from the scene showed hallmarks of a “precision strike,” analysts with open source investigative outlet Bellingcat found. Munitions which follow moving targets are exceptionally precise, and equipped with “advanced optics and sensor pods” that are capable of magnifying targets at a distance. “This is notable because at least one of the vehicles clearly bears the logo of World Central Kitchen on the roof. It is likely these markings would have been visible from above when the strike was carried out,” Bellingcat found.

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