Israel had so much information on aid convoy it blew up they ‘probably even knew the NAMES of the people in the cars’: Damning claim from British Army major as former MI6 chief condemns ‘reckless’ strike

By DAVID AVERRE – The Daily Mail

A former British Army Major has said Israel’s Defence Forces would have known everything about the World Central Kitchen aid convoy before Monday’s drone strike that killed seven aid workers, including three Britons.

Chris Lincoln-Jones, upon reviewing images of the damaged vehicles, characterised the strikes as highly targeted and said the missiles were ‘absolutely, perfectly accurate’.

The drone – an Elbit Hermes 450 – is built in Israel and constitutes one of the IDF’s foremost intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance vehicles.

It carries both electro-optical and infrared cameras to ‘capture high-quality imagery during day or night’, according to Air Force Technology, suggesting IDF operators would have clearly seen the World Central Kitchen (WCK) logo emblazoned on the white cars.

Lincoln-Jones also said Israel ‘probably even know the names of the people on board’, given the convoy had been travelling along a pre-approved deconflicted route, in comments to The Times.

Wreckage of a World Central Kitchen vehicle in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip after seven aid workers - including three British ex-servicemen - were killed in an Israeli drone strike

His comments followed those of WCK founder José Andrés and CEO Erin Gore, who accused the IDF of deliberately and ‘systematically’ targeting the aid convoy.

‘This was not just a bad luck situation where ”oops” we dropped the bomb in the wrong place.

‘This was over 1.5km, 1.8km, with a very defined humanitarian convoy that had signs in the top, in the roof, a very colourful logo… It’s very clear who we are and what we do,’ Andrés said

Gore added: ‘All three vehicles were carrying civilians… their movements were in full compliance with Israeli authorities, who were aware of their itinerary, route, and humanitarian mission.’

Meanwhile, former MI6 chief Sir Alex Younger labelled Israel’s war in Gaza ‘reckless’ and said such incidents undermine Tel-Aviv’s insistence the attacks on Hamas are morally justifiable following October 7.

‘My view is that what happened is essentially systematic of an approach to targeting that has, on occasion, bordered on the reckless,’ he told BBC’s Today podcast.

‘Fundamentally undermines therefore what must be Israel’s political objectives, which is to sustain some moral high ground and some moral purpose.’

‘It’s hard not to conclude that insufficient care is being paid to these collateral risks of these operations,’ he concluded.

British victims John Chapman, 57, James ‘Jim’ Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47, were killed in the attack along with four other aid workers.

They were named as Australian Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom, Pole Damian Soból, Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha and US-Canada citizen Jacob Flickinger.

Shocking images disseminated on social media showed their aid vehicles blown apart by the drone’s missiles – one had a gaping hole in the roof while another truck had its rear end hanging off, the interior reduced to a charred wreck.

Israeli authorities have so far apologised for the strikes and said an investigation would be held ‘at the highest levels’ to ensure such incidents do not happen again.

But Israel‘s economy minister Nir Barkat dismissed WCF comments as ‘nonsense’, claiming that ‘unfortunately, friendly fire happens’ and arguing that Israeli forces did not deliberately fire on aid workers.

The aid convoy strike prompted an international outpouring of anger, with world leaders including Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary David Cameron calling for an ‘immediate investigation’ and a ‘full, transparent explanation’.

It comes as Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to speak with US President Joe Biden in their first phone call since the Israeli strike on the WCK convoy later today.

Biden’s sharpening rhetoric, and insistence that Israel do more to protect aid workers and civilians, has indicated growing frustrations with how ally Israel is conducting its war on Hamas.

Israel has taken responsibility for the strike on the aid workers, which it called a mistake, and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant instructed the armed forces to ‘maintain an open and transparent line of communication’ with international organisations conducting relief work.

But Biden has emphasised the attack – which hit WCK-branded vehicles after the organisation said it had coordinated movements with Israeli forces – was not a ‘stand-alone incident’.

At least 196 aid workers have been killed in Gaza in the almost six-month-old war, nearly three times the toll inflicted by any other single conflict in a year, according to a UN coordinator.

Lalzawmi 'Zomi' Frankcom
Damian Soból
Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha
Jacob Flickinger

Four other aid workers killed in the strike were named as (L-R) Australian Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom, Pole Damian Soból, Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha and US-Canada citizen Jacob Flickinger

Members of the World Central Kitchen aid group, transports the body of one of the six foreign aid workers who were killed in an Israeli strike, at a hospital morgue in Rafah on Wednesday

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Members of the World Central Kitchen aid group, transports the body of one of the six foreign aid workers who were killed in an Israeli strike, at a hospital morgue in Rafah on Wednesday

A man pushes a bycicle along as he walks amid building rubble in the devastated area around Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital on April 3, 2024

A man pushes a bycicle along as he walks amid building rubble in the devastated area around Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital on April 3, 2024.

US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters the strike was ’emblematic of a larger problem and evidence of why distribution of aid in Gaza has been so challenging’.

But the White House said that Biden continued to support Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ and there were no plans to curb arms deliveries to the key US ally.

Monday’s deaths have thrown into question how to safely continue deliveries as the territory faces a deepening hunger crisis, with children reportedly dying of starvation.

WCK, which called the strike ‘targeted’, suspended its operations in the region and sent ships laden with hundreds of tonnes of undelivered supplies back to their Mediterranean port.

Other groups have since curtailed or reassessed their operations, with the UN on Tuesday pausing nighttime movement for the ‘evaluation of the security issues’.

‘Humanitarian aid organisations are unable to carry out their work safely,’ said the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The threat to Gaza’s aid lifeline comes as all of its 2.4 million people are already struggling to get enough to eat, with famine projected to soon hit the north.

Since the October 7 Hamas attacks that started the war, Israel has heavily restricted aid deliveries to the already blockaded territory, with the number of trucks dwindling to a small trickle.

Last week, Israel told the UN agency for Palestinian refugees its convoys would no longer be allowed in the north, where people have been consuming fewer than 245 calories per day on average, charity Oxfam said Wednesday.

‘The miniscule amount of food represents less than 12 per cent of the recommended daily 2,100 calorie intake needed per person,’ it said in a statement.

To try to maintain the humanitarian lifeline, foreign powers have increased aid airdrops into Gaza, while the World Central Kitchen was involved in establishing a maritime route.

Biden has instructed the US military to build a floating pier to unload supplies from the sea, with State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller vowing Monday’s strike would not deter that plan.

‘It will not affect our efforts to stand up the pier to deliver aid through sea,’ he told reporters.

On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council will consider a draft resolution calling for an arms embargo on Israel and condemning ‘the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare’.

The draft, which is backed by 18 states, will need 24 votes for a majority on the 47-country council, but it could possibly pass with fewer if there are abstentions.

Israel has long accused the Human Rights Council of bias.

The bloodiest-ever Gaza war claimed at least 61 more lives overnight, the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said on Thursday, with the group’s press office reporting Israeli strikes destroyed dozens of homes in Khan Yunis.

The war began with Hamas’ October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,170 Israelis and foreigners, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,975 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

Palestinian militants also took more than 250 hostages on October 7, and 130 remain in Gaza, including 34 who the army says are dead.

Families of the captives have staged mass protests in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, heaping pressure on Netanyahu.

‘There is one urgent issue, and this is the kidnapped,’ protester Hadas Zubary, the aunt of hostage Naama Levy, said. ‘We should ask (for) a deal now.’

Talks for a ceasefire and hostage release deal have stalled, however, with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh accusing Israel of procrastinating.

Qatar, which is mediating the indirect talks, said Israel has objected to the demand to allow displaced Gazans to return to their homes.

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