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Israel's Intentional Killing Of 7 Aid Workers Confirmed By Bellingcat Watchdog Report

02.04.2024 21:42

Destroyed vehicles 'bear hallmarks of precision strike' which only Israeli army is capable of in region, says report by watchdog group.

Israeli airstrikes in Gaza that killed seven aid workers from a US-based food charity "bear the hallmarks of a precision strike," fact-checking watchdog Bellingcat said in a new report on Tuesday.

Bellingcat's report hits back at an earlier statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who claimed that the Monday attack that killed seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers was "a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip."

"The destroyed vehicles bear the hallmarks of a precision strike, which only the IDF (Israeli army) has the capability to conduct in the region," former UK military officer Nick Waters, a Bellingcat open-source analyst, said in the report.

"Images from the aftermath of the strike show that the WCK vehicles were white and at least one had the WCK logo and name clearly marked on the roof," Waters said.

Through the use of open-source intelligence and by geolocating the vehicles hit by Israel, Bellingcat determined that the Israeli strike was intentional, the group said.

"Bellingcat geolocated the vehicles to the outskirts of Deir al-Balah (central Gaza) when they were struck – not far from where WCK facilities are based in Deir al-Balah," the report said.

The document also provides details on the three aid vehicles targeted by Israel.

"Images of the aftermath depict three cars which were destroyed by the strike, consistent with the WCK statement that the convoy included two armored cars and a soft skin vehicle," Waters said in the report, adding that the second vehicle, which was "more heavily damaged and suffered fire damage," could be identified from about 800 meters (about 2,625 feet) away.

Providing geolocation data for all three cars, the report added that the last aid vehicle hit by Israel was identified approximately 1.6 kilometers (about 1 mile) to the southwest of the first vehicle.

After the release of Bellingcat's report, Israeli daily Haaretz published a story, based on Israeli army sources familiar with the matter, also confirming that the attack had been intentional, not the "tragic" accident claimed by Netanyahu.

Haaretz also noted that the aid vehicles "were clearly marked on the roof and sides as belonging to the (aid) organization" and were traveling along "a route preapproved and coordinated with" the Israeli army.

Despite that, it added, "the war room of the unit responsible for security of the route ordered the drone operators to attack one of the cars with a missile," not once, not twice, but three times hitting the vehicles, and killing all seven volunteer aid workers.

In addition to killing some 33,000 people since Oct. 7, the Israel offensive and siege of the strip has been blamed for near-famine conditions among over 2 million Palestinians there, and for attacks killing both aid workers and civilians seeking humanitarian aid. -

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