Biden Outraged After Israel’s Navy Claims Support Convoy Assault Was a Mistake

President Biden stated he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the killing of seven humanitarian support employees in a strike by Israeli forces, strongly condemning the assault simply hours after Israel’s high navy commander acknowledged its navy had made a “grave mistake.”

Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi made a uncommon admission of fault by Israel within the six-month-old warfare within the Gaza Strip, as he accepted duty for the deaths of the help employees.

“It was a mistake that adopted a misidentification, at evening, throughout the warfare, in a really complicated situation,” he stated, including, “It shouldn’t have occurred.”

Normal Halevi’s mea culpa marked a change in tone from Israel’s navy, which all through the warfare has largely rejected criticism of its conduct by arguing that it was doing what was essential to defeat Hamas. It got here as lots of Israel’s closest allies voiced indignation and demanded explanations for the assault.

The seven employees, touring in a convoy, had been with World Central Kitchen, a charity that was serving to to feed hungry Palestinians within the besieged Gaza Strip.

In a sharply worded assertion, Mr. Biden stated that Israel had not performed sufficient to guard civilians and famous that the deaths weren’t a “stand-alone incident.” He stated the battle “has been one of many worst in current reminiscence when it comes to what number of support employees have been killed.”

The president’s blunt criticism of an ally highlighted his rising impatience with Israel’s conduct of the warfare and growing tensions with its chief, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, because the dying toll in Gaza has climbed, in keeping with Gazan well being authorities, previous 32,000.

David Cameron, the British international secretary, referred to as the employees’ deaths “fully unacceptable,” saying in a press release that “Israel should urgently clarify how this occurred and make main adjustments to make sure the security of support employees.”

The World Central Kitchen employees — a Palestinian, an Australian, a Pole, three Britons and a twin U.S.-Canadian citizen — had been touring in clearly marked vehicles after leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah, in central Gaza, when their convoy got here below fireplace late Monday, the group stated in a press release. The Israeli navy had been knowledgeable of the employees’ actions, the charity stated.

The our bodies of the six foreigners had been pushed to Egypt on Wednesday, and from there have been to be flown to their residence nations.

The killings drew condemnation from nations all over the world, together with these of the individuals killed, and prompted support companies to reassess their operations in Gaza. World Central Kitchen, which was based by the famend chef José Andrés, stated on Tuesday that it was suspending its operations in Gaza.

All through the warfare, Palestinians and reduction organizations have accused Israel of bombing indiscriminately, heedless of civilian casualties — claims Israel has constantly denied. The killing of support employees from nations which have backed Israel may add gas to rising worldwide anger over the best way it has carried out the warfare.

Normal Halevi stated that an unbiased physique would examine the killings, and that the navy would be taught from the conclusions and share the findings with World Central Kitchen.

“Israel is at warfare with Hamas, not with the individuals of Gaza,” Normal Halevi stated. “We’re sorry for the unintentional hurt to the members of the W.C.Ok. We share within the grief of the households, in addition to your entire World Central Kitchen group, from the underside of our hearts.”

The remarks from Normal Halevi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who stated on social media that Israel “deeply regrets the tragic incident” — got here inside 24 hours of the strike.

In December, it took a number of days for the Israeli navy to acknowledge that it had carried out two airstrikes within the central Gaza Strip that well being officers within the enclave stated had killed dozens of civilians.

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