World Central Kitchen workers possibly killed by 'perfectly accurate' Israeli Spike missiles: report

The missiles that killed several aid workers that were part of a World Central Kitchen convoy this week, including an American, in the Gaza Strip were likely to have been “absolutely perfectly accurate” Spike missiles, according to British media reports.

Chris Lincoln-Jones, a former British army procurement officer, told The Times of London newspaper it was likely that three Spike missiles were fired in quick succession and smashed into the convoy vehicles on Monday.

“If you aim at the driver’s side, you will hit the driver full-on,” Lincoln-Jones, who worked with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) while in the army, told the newspaper. “If you were across the street from the car, you’d be shaken up, and you might be hit by a few splinters, but you would survive.”

The IDF’s Black Snake squadron was carrying a Hermes 450 drone equipped for a “clean and highly targeted” attack when it was believed to have pursued an aid convoy in Gaza, the report said. 

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Spike missile fired by Israeli soldier

An undated file photo shows an Israeli soldier firing an anti-tank missile Spike-LR, manufactured by an Israeli Defense contractor. (Reuters / Rafael-An Israeli Defense contractor )

Lincoln-Jones spent five years studying IDF military hardware in Haifa and Tel Aviv, where he was involved in obtaining the watchkeeper drone for Britain, the news outlet reported. The drone was based on the Hermes 450, which is equipped with Spike “fire-and-forget” missiles made by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, an Israeli arms firm.

“It’s the only missile that I know of in the Israeli army that, in my experience, would cause so little collateral damage. It would only kill the people in the car,” said Lincoln-Jones.

The Hermes 450 would have had a clear image of the charity’s logo, he said, and that because the route taken by WCK had been approved by military authorities, Israel “probably even knew the names of the people on board.”

Investigation underway

Israel has said it is investigating the deadly incident. The nonprofit, founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres, said its team was “traveling in a de-conflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle” in central Gaza on Monday when it came under fire, resulting in the deaths of an American, a Palestinian worker and others from Australia, Poland and the United Kingdom

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Spike missiles in South Korea

South Korea’s Israeli-made Spike missiles are seen during a military parade. (Reuters/Lee Jae-Won )

The deaths have fueled criticism against Israel by some who claim Israeli forces haven’t done enough to mitigate civilian casualties amid an impending invasion of Rafah, in southern Gaza. Israeli forces have also been accused of targeting humanitarian workers.

Israel denies targeting civilians and said the strike that killed the WCK workers was carried out by mistake. 

‘Not bad luck’

“This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” Andres said in a video, Reuters reported. “This was over a 1.5, 1.8 kilometers, with a very defined humanitarian convoy that had signs on the top, on the roof, a very colorful logo that we are obviously very proud of. It’s ‘very clear who we are and what we do.”

World Central Kitchen killed in Israeli strike

Israeli airstrikes killed seven aid workers in Gaza who were delivering food to Palestinians with the charity World Central Kitchen. Among those killed were top, left: Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom of Australia, Damian Soból of Poland, and Jacob Flickinger of the U.S. and Canada, and bottom, left, John Chapman of Britain, James Henderson of Britain, and James Kirby of Britain. (World Central Kitchen/WCK.org via AP)

World Central Kitchen has asked the governments of several nations, including the United States, to demand a third-party investigation into the attack and has asked the Israeli government to preserve all documents, communications, video, audio recordings, and any other materials potentially relevant to the airstrike. 

Biden reacts

The nonprofit announced Tuesday that it was pausing all its operations in Gaza.

In a statement earlier this week, President Biden said he was “outraged” and “heartbroken” by the deaths. 

World Central Kitchen vehicle

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen destroyed by a deadly Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Ismael Abu Dayyah)

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In a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden “emphasized that the strikes on humanitarian workers and the overall humanitarian situation are unacceptable,” the White House said in a Thursday statement. 

“He underscored that an immediate ceasefire is essential to stabilize and improve the humanitarian situation and protect innocent civilians, and he urged the Prime Minister to empower his negotiators to conclude a deal without delay to bring the hostages home,” the statement said. 

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