String of Errors Led to Fatal Attack on Aid Convoy, Israeli Military Says

A series of failures, including a breakdown in communication and violations of the rules of engagement, led to the deadly Israeli strikes that killed seven humanitarian aid workers in Gaza this week, senior Israeli military officials said on Friday.

The military officials said that the officers who ordered the strikes on the aid convoy had violated the army’s protocols in part because they had directed troops to open fire on the basis of insufficient and erroneous evidence that a passenger in one of the cars was armed.

“It’s a tragedy,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, told reporters in a briefing on Thursday night. “It’s a serious event that we’re responsible for, and it shouldn’t have happened.”

On Friday, the Israeli military announced that two officers — a colonel and a major — would be dismissed from their positions. Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israeli military chief of staff, also decided to formally reprimand the head of Israel’s southern command, the military said in a statement.

“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,” the statement noted.

Israeli forces, the military said, began striking the convoy, belonging to the relief group World Central Kitchen, at 10:09 p.m. on Monday as the cars made their way along Gaza’s coast.

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