Biden Outraged After Israel’s Navy Claims Assist Convoy Assault Was a Mistake

President Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the killing of seven humanitarian support employees in a strike by Israeli forces, strongly condemning the assault simply hours after Israel’s high army commander acknowledged its army had made a “grave mistake.”

Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi made a uncommon admission of fault by Israel within the six-month-old battle within the Gaza Strip, as he accepted duty for the deaths of the help employees.

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification, at night, during the war, in a very complex condition,” he mentioned, including, “It shouldn’t have happened.”

Basic Halevi’s mea culpa marked a change in tone from Israel’s army, which all through the battle has largely rejected criticism of its conduct by arguing that it was doing what was essential to defeat Hamas. It got here as a lot of Israel’s closest allies voiced indignation and demanded explanations for the assault.

The seven employees, touring in a convoy, had been with World Central Kitchen, a charity that was serving to to feed hungry Palestinians within the besieged Gaza Strip.

In a sharply worded assertion, Mr. Biden mentioned that Israel had not completed sufficient to guard civilians and famous that the deaths weren’t a “stand-alone incident.” He mentioned the battle “has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been killed.”

The president’s blunt criticism of an ally highlighted his rising impatience with Israel’s conduct of the battle and rising tensions with its chief, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, because the demise toll in Gaza has climbed, based on Gazan well being authorities, previous 32,000.

David Cameron, the British international secretary, known as the employees’ deaths “completely unacceptable,” saying in a press release that “Israel must urgently explain how this happened and make major changes to ensure the safety of aid workers.”

The World Central Kitchen employees — a Palestinian, an Australian, a Pole, three Britons and a twin U.S.-Canadian citizen — had been touring in clearly marked automobiles after leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah, in central Gaza, when their convoy got here below hearth late Monday, the group mentioned in a press release. The Israeli army had been knowledgeable of the employees’ actions, the charity mentioned.

The our bodies of the six foreigners had been pushed to Egypt on Wednesday, and from there have been to be flown to their dwelling international locations.

The killings drew condemnation from international locations world wide, together with these of the individuals killed, and prompted support companies to reassess their operations in Gaza. World Central Kitchen, which was based by the famend chef José Andrés, mentioned on Tuesday that it was suspending its operations in Gaza.

All through the battle, Palestinians and reduction organizations have accused Israel of bombing indiscriminately, heedless of civilian casualties — claims Israel has constantly denied. The killing of support employees from international locations which have backed Israel might add gasoline to rising worldwide anger over the way in which it has performed the battle.

Basic Halevi mentioned that an unbiased physique would examine the killings, and that the army would be taught from the conclusions and share the findings with World Central Kitchen.

“Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the people of Gaza,” Basic Halevi mentioned. “We are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of the W.C.K. We share in the grief of the families, as well as the entire World Central Kitchen organization, from the bottom of our hearts.”

The remarks from Basic Halevi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who mentioned on social media that Israel “deeply regrets the tragic incident” — got here inside 24 hours of the strike.

In December, it took a number of days for the Israeli army to acknowledge that it had carried out two airstrikes within the central Gaza Strip that well being officers within the enclave mentioned had killed dozens of civilians.