President Joe Biden delivers 2023 State of the Union address
President Joe Biden delivers 2023 State of the Union addressGripas Yuri/ABACA via Reuters Connect

Fifty-six Democratic members of the US Congress have penned a letter to US President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling on them to withhold the transfer of offensive arms to Israel, following the deaths of World Central Kitchen workers earlier this month.

Announcing the move on social media, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) wrote, "Big news! Our letter to withhold offensive arms transfers to Israel picked up steam today. We added 16 signers for our final push - 56 Members of Congress total. A shift is underway!"

"The Israeli airstrike that killed seven WCKitchen aid workers, including an American citizen, was absolutely horrifying and unacceptable," Pocan wrote.

"Today, I called on the Biden Admin to withhold offensive arms transfers to Israel with Rep. McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, and 37 other colleagues."

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."

Following the investigation, the IDF announced that 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.