WCK in Gaza
WCK in GazaCourtesy of @chefjoseandres via REUTERS

The IDF on Friday afternoon released the results of an investigation into an airstrike earlier this week that left seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) employees dead.

The investigation was conducted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Fact-Finding and Assessment Mechanism (FFAM), led by MG (res.) Yoav Har-Even, was presented Thursday to the IDF Chief of the General Staff, LTG Herzi Halevi.

After presenting the findings of the investigation to the Chief of the General Staff, MG (res.) Har-Even presented them to the WCK organization and reiterated the IDF’s deep sorrow about the incident. The findings were also presented in briefings to international ambassadors and journalists.

The event occurred on April 1, 2024, during an operation to transfer humanitarian aid from the WCK to the Gaza Strip. The investigation found that the forces identified a gunman on one of the aid trucks, following which they identified an additional gunman.

After the vehicles left the warehouse where the aid had been unloaded, one of the commanders mistakenly assumed that the gunmen were located inside the accompanying vehicles and that these were Hamas terrorists. The forces did not identify the vehicles in question as being associated with WCK.

Following a misidentification by the forces, the forces targeted the three WCK vehicles based on the misclassification of the event and misidentification of the vehicles as having Hamas operatives inside them, with the resulting strike leading to the deaths of seven innocent humanitarian aid workers.

"The strikes on the three vehicles were carried out in serious violation of the commands and IDF Standard Operating Procedures," the IDF stressed.

"The investigation’s findings indicate that the incident should not have occurred. Those who approved the strike were convinced that they were targeting armed Hamas operatives and not WCK employees. The strike on the aid vehicles is a grave mistake stemming from a serious failure due to a mistaken identification, errors in decision-making, and an attack contrary to the Standard Operating Procedures."

After being presented with, and considering the investigation's findings, the IDF Chief of the General Staff decided that the following command measures will be taken: the brigade fire support commander, an officer with the rank of major, will be dismissed from his position. The brigade chief of staff, an officer with the rank of colonel in reserve, will be dismissed from his position. Additionally, the brigade commander and the 162nd Division commander will be formally reprimanded. The IDF Chief of Staff decided to formally reprimand the commander of the Southern Command for his overall responsibility for the incident.

"The IDF takes seriously the grave incident that claimed the lives of seven innocent humanitarian aid workers," the military statement stressed. "We express our deep sorrow for the loss and send our condolences to the families and the WCK organization. We consider the vital humanitarian activity of international aid organizations to be of utmost importance, and we will continue to work to coordinate and assist their activities, while ensuring their safety and safeguarding their lives."

"The IDF once again emphasizes its commitment to fighting against the Hamas terrorist organization, while upholding the values of the IDF, the laws of war, and avoiding harming civilians. The IDF will learn the lessons of the incident and will incorporate them into the IDF's ongoing operations."

How the strike against a humanitarian convoy unfolded                                                                                IDF spokesperson
How the strike against a humanitarian convoy unfolded IDF spokesperson