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ConflictsMiddle East

Israel-Hamas war: US 'outraged' over strike on aid workers

Published April 2, 2024last updated April 3, 2024

The US, Germany and other countries are seeking answers after an airstrike in Gaza killed seven aid World Central Kitchen aid workers. Israeli PM Netanyahu said the strike was "unintentional."

Residents inspect a vehicle bearing the World Central Kitchen logo with a hole in the roof
Seven people working for World Central Kitchen were killed in the Israeli strike in GazaImage: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Seven aid workers were killed in Israeli airstrike in Gaza
  • Israeli PM Netanyahu has said strike was 'unintentional' and expressed sorrow
  • Several countries have urge independent investigation of deadly incident
  • The US has said it is 'outraged' by the strike
  • Israel's military has admitted a 'grave mistake'
  • The EU has called for 'restraint' after Iran blames Israel for flattening diplomatic building in Damascus

Here are the main headlines from Israel's war on Hamas on Tuesday April 2:

Skip next section Israeli military chief says strike was a 'grave mistake'
April 3, 2024

Israeli military chief says strike was a 'grave mistake'

Israel's top military commander said the strike that killed seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) in Gaza was a "grave mistake."

"It was a mistake that followed a misidentification, at night, during a war, in very complex conditions. It shouldn't have happened," Halevi said during a video statement released on Wednesday..

The military chief made the comments after having been presented with the initial findings of a preliminary investigation that was initiated after the deadly strike.

Halevi said the Israeli military will "continue taking immediate action to ensure more is done to protect humanitarian aid workers."

"Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the people of Gaza. We are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK," Halevi said.

Skip next section Israelis take to Jersualem streets in fourth night of anti-Netanyahu demos
April 3, 2024

Israelis take to Jersualem streets in fourth night of anti-Netanyahu demos

Israelis in Jerusalem protested against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the fourth night in a row late Tuesday.

Some of the Israeli demonstrators believe the Netanyahu government is not doing enough to release the over 130 Israeli hostages still held in Gaza by Islamist militants Hamas and other groups.

Israelis rally against the Netanyahu government during a protest in Jerusalem, April 2, 2024
The remaining Israeli hostages have spent almost six months in Gaza, with protesters saying their release is not Netanyahu's priority Image: Ohad Zwigenberg/AP Photo/picture alliance

Einav Zangauker, the mother of one of the hostages in Gaza, decried Netanyahu's security policies during a speech to the protesters.

"You failed on October 7 in every possible way," Zangauker said, noting that the Hamas terror attacks and abductions of Israelis that day occurred on Netanyahu's watch. 

Zangauker said that Netanyahu is an "obstacle" to a deal that can release the hostages. She said Netanyahu maligned hostage families for demonstrating while Israeli pursues its military operation against Hamas, classified by multiple countries as a terrorist organization.

"You call us traitors when you are the traitor, a traitor to your people, to the State of Israel," she said.        

Israeli protesters hold anti-Netanyahu rally in Jerusalem on April 2, 2024
Some of the demonstrators have called for new elections, but Netanyahu has rejected that callImage: Ronen Zvulun/REUTERS

Some protesters, according to Israeli outlets Times of Israel and Haaretz, also headed to Netanyahu's private home to express their indignation. with social media videos showing a daughter-in-law of a hostage being dragged by police.

Skip next section Biden calls WCK founder Jose Andres, expresses condolences
April 2, 2024

Biden calls WCK founder Jose Andres, expresses condolences

US President Joe Biden spoke with Jose Andres, the Spanish-American chief who founded the World Central Kitchen (WCK) relief organization operating in Gaza. 

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed six foreign WCK workers along with their Palestinian driver. 

Biden told Andres in a phone call that he is "heartbroken" by the news of the deadly airstrike, according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Biden expressed his "deepest condolences" during the conversation. 

"The president felt it was important to recognize the tremendous contribution World Central Kitchen has made to the people in Gaza, and people around the world," Jean-Pierre said. Biden "made clear" that humanitarian aid workers in Gaza must be protected.     

Andres has said that he is "heartbroken and grieving" for the WCK employees who were killed in the strike.  

Skip next section US 'outraged' by airstrike in Gaza that killed aid workers
April 2, 2024

US 'outraged' by airstrike in Gaza that killed aid workers

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said during a press briefing that the US is "outraged" by the Israeli airstrike which killed aid workers in Gaza. 

"We were outraged to learn of an IDF strike that killed a number of civilian humanitarian workers yesterday from the World Central Kitchen," Kirby said, referring to the charity founded by Spanish-American chef Jose Andres. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged the military had carried out the "unintended strike," and said officials were investigating.

White House official Kirby said the US hopes "that those findings will be made public and there is appropriate accountability."  

He added the killings could negatively impact the way other aid groups operate in Gaza

At the same time, Kirby rebuked a reporter's question suggesting that the US could condition aid to Israel.

"We believe the approach we are taking is working," Kirby said, while adding that the US State Department has not found incidents so far of Israel violating international humanitarian law during the ongoing war.     

Skip next section UK PM Sunak told Netanyahu he is 'appalled' by deaths of aid workers
April 2, 2024

UK PM Sunak told Netanyahu he is 'appalled' by deaths of aid workers

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he was "appalled by the killing of aid workers" in Gaza, according to a Downing Street spokeperson. 

Of the seven World Central Kitchen charity staff killed in an airstrike in Gaza, three of them were British nationals. 

In his call with Netanyahu, Sunak "demanded a thorough and transparent independent investigation into what happened."  

The UK prime minister said the situation is "increasingly intolerable" in Gaza and that the UK "expected to see immediate action by Israel to end restrictions on humanitarian aid."

Earlier on Tuesday, the UK summoned Israel's ambassador to condemn the killing of the aid workers and call for an explanation.  

Gaza: Aid group says 7 of its workers killed in airstrike

Skip next section Israeli president expresses 'deep sorrow' over deaths of aid workers
April 2, 2024

Israeli president expresses 'deep sorrow' over deaths of aid workers

Israeli President Isaac Herzog held a phone call with World Central Kitchen (WCK) founder Jose Andres, and "expressed deep sorrow and sincere apologies" over the "tragic loss" of WCK staff in Gaza.

Seven WCK employees were killed by an Israeli airstrike amid aid operations to Palestinians.  

In a statement put out by the Office of the President of Israel, Herzog reiterated "Israeli's commitment to ensuring a thorough investigation of the tragedy."

"President Herzog thanked Chef Andres and the WCK for their committment to the wellbeing of Israelis and Palestinians, and to the values of humanity," the statement added.        

Skip next section US had 'nothing to do with' Damascus air strike — White House
April 2, 2024

US had 'nothing to do with' Damascus air strike — White House

Washington was not involved in an airstrike on Iran's embassy in Syrian capital Damascus, according to the White House.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards said two generals and five officers were killed in Monday's attack. 

"We had nothing to do with the strike in Damascus, we weren't involved in any way whatsoever," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

Kirby dismissed as "nonsense" comments by Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who said that the US bore responsibility for the attack.

The United States is one of Israel's key allies.

The Reuters news agency cited anonymous US officials as saying that that Washington was not alerted to the strike by Israel.

Israel has said it was behind the strike. It rarely claims responsibility for strikes on Syrian territory but has said that it has engaged in operations against Iran-linked targets.

Skip next section World Bank: Gaza hit by $18.5 billion in infrastructure damage
April 2, 2024

World Bank: Gaza hit by $18.5 billion in infrastructure damage

The World Bank says the Gaza Strip has seen $18.5 billion (€17.18 billion) in damage to infrastructure between October 7 and the end of January this year.

The report, which was produced with the United Nations and the European Union, said that the amount was equivalent to 97% of the combined economic output of the West Bank and Gaza in 2022.

It found that infrastructure damage affected "every sector of the economy."

Over 70% of the estimated costs were due to the destruction of housing.

"For several sectors, the rate of damage appears to be leveling off as few assets remain intact," the World Bank said in its report.

The report found that Gaza's water and sanitation system had "nearly collapsed" and was delivering less than 5% of its output before October 7. It said that the education system had completely collapsed and 92% of the territory's primary roads had been destroyed or damaged.

84% of health facilities had been damaged or destroyed and three quarters of people in the territory had been displaced by the fighting.

The World Bank said that more than half of the Palestinian enclave's population was on the brink of famine and the whole population was "experiencing food insecurity and malnutrition."

The report called for "an increase in humanitarian assistance, food aid and food production; the provision of shelter and rapid, cost-effective, and scalable housing solutions for displaced people; and the resumption of essential services."

The Gaza-based Hamas militant Islamist group launched attacks on southern Israel on October 7, killing around 1200 people, mostly civilians.

In response, Israel began air strikes and ground operations in the Gaza Strip. At least 32,916 people in Gaza have died since the start of the operations, most of them women and children, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

Skip next section Israel must investigate strike on aid workers 'quickly and thoroughly' — Germany's Baerbock
April 2, 2024

Israel must investigate strike on aid workers 'quickly and thoroughly' — Germany's Baerbock

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called for Israel to investigate a strike that killed seven international aid workers in Gaza.

"My deepest sympathies go out to the families of the seven @WCKitchen employees killed in an Israeli airstrike in #Gaza," Baerbock said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

"The Israeli government must investigate this terrible incident quickly and thoroughly," she said.

"Humanitarian workers must be able to carry out their important work safely — around the world as well as in #Gaza," she said.

Baerbock called for the Israeli government to implement appropriate measures to ensure that similar incidents do not happen in the future. "Incidents like this cannot be allowed to happen," the minister declared.

Also on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said in separate comments it was concerned about an Israeli media law that could lead to the blocking of Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera.

"We take note of the new Israeli media law with concern," a ministry spokesman told the German Press Agency (DPA). "A free and diverse press landscape is the cornerstone of a liberal democracy."

The Israeli government has accused Al Jazeera of biased reporting on Israel's operations in the Gaza Strip. Al Jazeera has denied the allegations and accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of spreading "lies and inflammatory slanders" against the network.

Skip next section Gaza's al-Shifa hospital 'in ruins' after Israeli withdrawal – WHO
April 2, 2024

Gaza's al-Shifa hospital 'in ruins' after Israeli withdrawal – WHO

One of the most important medical facilities in the Gaza Strip is no longer operational following the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the al-Shifa hospital, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The al-Shifa hospital is now in ruins," said WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris in Geneva on Tuesday. "Destroying al-Shifa means ripping the heart out of the health system."

The sprawling al-Shifa complex in Gaza City offered specialized medical care across 750 beds, 12 operating theaters and 30 intensive care rooms.

Israeli troops were ordered into the complex two weeks ago amid claims that Hamas militants had regrouped in the hospital and in the tunnels below it.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that more than 200 terrorists were killed and that hundreds surrendered.

Israeli forces leave main Gaza hospital after two-week siege

Skip next section Blinken urges 'swift, thorough and impartial' probe into aid worker deaths
April 2, 2024

Blinken urges 'swift, thorough and impartial' probe into aid worker deaths

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Israel to investigate the air strike that killed seven aid workers in Gaza on Monday in a quick, comprehensive and impartial manner.

"We've spoken directly to the Israeli government about this particular incident," he said at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday. "We've urged a swift, a thorough and impartial investigation to understand exactly what happened."

He added that Israel should "do more to protect innocent civilian lives, be they innocent Palestinian children or aid workers."

Israel's conduct of its war in Gaza with its rising civilian death toll has been causing increasing consternation in Washington, with President Joe Biden also calling for restraint and the US opting not to veto a recent UN resolution calling for a cease-fire.

Blinken was speaking alongside French foreign minister Stephane Sejourne, who said: "Protecting humanitarian workers is a moral and legal imperative that everyone must adhere to. Nothing justifies such a tragedy."

Blinken on Gaza aid workers: 'These people are heroes'

Skip next section Netanyahu discharged from hospital
April 2, 2024

Netanyahu discharged from hospital

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been discharged from a Jerusalem hospital after undergoing a hernia operation under general anesthetic.

"I am being discharged from the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital which became my office yesterday," the 74-year-old said in a video message on Tuesday.

His discharge was confirmed by Netanyahu's office.

A hernia – the precise nature of which is unknown – was discovered when Netanyahu underwent a routine health check on Saturday. He was operated on on Sunday.

Netanyahu has regularly been admitted to hospital with health problems in the past. Last summer, his heart was fitted with a pacemaker.

Skip next section EU urges 'restraint' after Iran blames consulate strike on Israel
April 2, 2024

EU urges 'restraint' after Iran blames consulate strike on Israel

In other news away from Gaza, the European Union said on Tuesday that it was "alarmed by the alleged Israeli strike" on the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus, but cautioned against escalatory measures from Tehran.

"In this highly tense regional situation, it is really of utmost importance to show restraint because [a] further escalation in the region is in no one's interests," EU spokesman Peter Stano said.

Iran has vowed revenge after saying that the Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus on Monday killed seven senior Revolutionary Guards officers, including Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of the elite Quds Force, and his deputy, Brigadier General Mohammad Hadi Haji-Rahimi.

Skip next section Israel responsbile for strike on aid workers — Netanyahu
April 2, 2024

Israel responsbile for strike on aid workers — Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has admitted that Israel's armed forces killed seven aid workers in an air strike in the Gaza Strip.

He said that the strike was unintentional and had caused innocent deaths.

"Unfortunately, in the last day there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip," Netanyahu said.

"It happens in war, we will investigate it right to the end... We are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again."

The seven people killed in the strike worked for the US-based World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid organization. It had been delivering food aid to Gaza by sea from Cyprus.

WCK suspended its work in Gaza after the strike. It said the aid workers killed were "from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the US and Canada, and Palestine."

Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari earlier said that he expressed his "deepest condolences" to WCK founder Jose Andres.

The UN has warned of impending famine in the northern Gaza Strip.

DW News

Skip next section Warsaw wants 'explanations' from Israel after death of Polish aid worker
April 2, 2024

Warsaw wants 'explanations' from Israel after death of Polish aid worker

Poland's foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, has demanded "urgent explanations" from Israel's ambassador in Warsaw after a Polish citizen was among those killed by an air strike in Gaza.

"I personally asked the Israeli ambassador Yacov Livne for urgent explanations," Sikorsi said on social media.

He said he had offered "condolences to the family of our brave volunteer" and said Poland would open its own inquiry into the unnamed aid worker's death.

He added: "Poland does not agree to the lack of compliance with international humanitarian law and of the protection of civilians, including humanitarian workers."

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