‘Shoot first, question later’…Israeli official exposes trigger-happy mindset plaguing IDF after ‘rogue units’ kill Brits

‘Shoot first, question later’…Israeli official exposes trigger-happy mindset plaguing IDF after ‘rogue units’ kill Brits

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A TOP Israeli official has blasted the “shoot first, question later” mindset plaguing the IDF after rogue units blitzed an aid convoy, killing three Brits.

The senior official blamed trigger-happy troops for the disaster after accusing them of “violating” rules of engagement in a war zone.

EPA

The devastating wreckage of one of the aid trucks belonging to World Central Kitchen after the Israeli strike that killed seven aid workers[/caption]

wck.org

John Chapman, former SBS hero, was among three Brits killed in an air strike while delivering aid in Gaza[/caption]

PA

Ex-Royal Marine James Henderson was also killed[/caption]

wck.org

The third ‘hero’ Brit has been named as former Army sniper James Kirby[/caption]

On Monday, IDF troops called in multiple drone strikes on a convoy of three vehicles, killing seven charity workers who were delivering food aid to starving Gazans.

The British victims included a former SBS special forces hero John Chapman, 57, ex-Royal Marine James Henderson, 33, and former Rifleman James Kirby, 47.

Israel has insisted the deadly strike on the aid convoy was a “grave mistake” and a result of “misidentification”.

The senior official, speaking to the Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, said a culture of “shooting first [in Gaza] and asking questions later” is plaguing corners of the IDF.

He argued that such a culture was clearly on display in late December when Israeli troops shot dead three Israeli hostages who had escaped captivity and were waving white flags.

The official noted that it shows a clear pattern of violating Israel’s rules of engagement.

“Soldiers are operating under immense pressure in very difficult conditions in which Hamas embeds itself within the civilian population, but the rules of engagement are designed to help deal with such conditions, and they’re too often being ignored,” he said.

It comes as President Joe Biden condemned the blitz as “outrageous” and PM Rishi Sunak told Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu that the situation in Gaza was “increasingly intolerable”.

Earlier today, Israeli defence insiders rubbished official claims that the deadly error was a “coordination issue” and instead claimed it was due to “out of control” IDF units inside Gaza.

Sources told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that troops in the Gaza Strip had broken direct orders by launching a triple pinpoint missile strike on the World Central Kitchen vehicles.


One said: “The General Staff know exactly why [the convoy] was bombed – because in the Strip, everyone does whatever they like.”

Lord Rickets, a former Foreign Office chief, today called for a halt to UK arms sales to Israel amid growing fury at the slaughter in Gaza.

Following The Sun’s revelation that all three British victims were former members of the armed forces, Lord Rickets told the BBC there was, “abundant evidence that Israel hasn’t been taking enough care to fulfil its obligations on the safety of citizens.”

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Witnesses said civilians who survived the strike on the first car ran to the other vehicles to escape but were blown to bits in the follow up strikes.

The seven victims killed in the disaster
The seven victims killed in the disaster
EPA

One of WCK’s clearly marked aid truck in the aftermath of the deadly strike[/caption]

Bloodied UK, Polish & Australian passports were found in the wrecked cars
Bloodied UK, Polish & Australian passports were found in the wrecked cars
IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has apologised
IDF chief of Staff produced a grovelling apology after PM Netanyahu said ‘these things happen in war’

An Israeli defence source told Haaretz: “This has nothing to do with coordination.

“They can set up another 20 coordination hubs, but if someone doesn’t put an end to how some forces in the Strip have been operating, we’ll see this happen time and time again.” 

The WCK vehicles were clearly marked with the charity’s logo – including with stickers on the roof to be visible to drones.

Shocking pictures of the aftermath show how a missile ripped a hole in one of the cars’ roofs, cutting through the WCK logo.

The US based charity had been handing out food to avert a catastrophic famine caused by Israel’s invasion.

The killed British military heroes were working for the Poole-based security company Solace Global to try and protect the charity staff in the war zone.

Almost 33,000 people have died as a result of Israel’s six month blitz on Gaza, around two thirds of them women and children according to local officials.

There are questions that need to be answered


PM Rishi Sunak

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said the strike was a “grave mistake”.

He said the results of a preliminary investigation showed the convoy was misidentified.

He said: “The strike was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers. 

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification – at night during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened.”

He added: “This incident was a grave mistake. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the people of Gaza. 

“We are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK. We share in the grief of their families, as well as the entire WCK Organisation, from the bottom of our hearts.”

Israel’s PM Netanyahu had yesterday admitted Israel was behind the deadly air strike – adding “this happens in war”.

PM Sunak last night told Netanyahu he was appalled by the strike and said Israel’s aim of defeating Hamas would not be achieved by allowing a humanitarian disaster.

He added: “We are asking Israel to investigate what happened urgently.

“Clearly there are questions that need to be answered.”

Israel vowed to destroy Hamas after its fighters launched a horrific attack from the Gaza Strip killing 1,200 people in Israel and taking 250 hostages on Oct 7.

At least 100 people are still held hostage by the ruthless terrorist gangs.

‘BEST OF HUMANITY’

Chef José Andres, who founded World Central Kitchen, said the seven slain aid workers were the “best of humanity”.

They included three Brits, a Polish national, an Australian, a dual US-Canadian citizen and a Palestinian.

Erin Gore, the charity’s CEO, said they were “the heroes of World Central Kitchen”.

She added: “These seven beautiful souls were killed by the IDF in a strike as they were returning from a full day’s mission. 

“Their smiles, laughter, and voices are forever embedded in our memories. 

“And we have countless memories of them giving their best selves to the world. We are reeling from our loss, the world’s loss.”

Friends of the fallen also paid tributes.

James Kirby’s cousin Mark Shobbers wrote: “I lost an amazing friend.

“He was a truly amazing person. Kirbs would help anyone out. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to help you. 

“A fantastic sense of humour, loyalty like no other and  a true gentleman.  

“He grabbed life with both hands and lived it to the full. Take care my friend.. Gone but never forgotten.”

All three had served in the elite 3 Commando Brigade at different times.

Chapman and Henderson were both Royal Marines before Chapman went on to pass selection for the elite Special Boat Service, the Navy’s top tier special forces unit on par with the SAS.

Kirby had served in the 1st Battalion, the Rifles, which was attached to 3 Commando Brigade.

They were working for the Poole based security and intelligence firm Solace Global founded by ex-SBS operators.

The Royal Marines official Globe and Laurel channel said: “Rest in peace Royals.”

A former comrade said their deaths were a “gut punch for the Royal Marines”.

The Sun revealed in November how top British generals had raised concern over whether Israel’s assault on Gaza met the legal constraints of proportionality.

Legendary ex-Army chief General Sir Mike Jackson urged Israel to “look more carefully at proportion”.

As the death toll neared 15,000 – less than half of its current total – he said: “the human results in Gaza are pretty awful” 

He also questioned whether Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas was possible.

He said: “Whether you can eradicate a theology as well as a pseudo-military force, I don’t know.

“What does worry me, and I am sure shared generally, is the question of proportion.

“One can see that Israel, hurt, wounded as it was on that day would have to take some form of action.

“But the results, human results in Gaza are pretty awful and innocent people, not Hamas, have suffered terribly.”

The Sun’s Defence Editor’s analysis of the Middle East tinderbox

By Jerome Starkey, The Sun’s Defence Editor

FEARS that the Middle East could explode into all-out war are ratcheting up today after Iran vowed vengeance for a deadly Israeli missile strike on its embassy in Damascus, the capital of Syria.

At least 11 people were killed when a consular annex was reduced to rubble by strikes which Iran says were carried out by Israeli F-35 fighter jets.

Now among those 11 killed were two top Iranian generals, Brigadier Mohammed Reza Zahidi, who we understand commanded Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, and Brigadier Mohammed Haji Rahimi.

Also among the dead is a representative of the Hezbollah terrorist group Hussein Yusuf.

Both Iran and Hezbollah have vowed vengeance, with Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi saying this strike will not go unanswered.

The suggestion is that perhaps Israel has crossed a threshold with a strike on an embassy.

Embassies are sovereign soil of the nations they belong to, so this was a strike on sovereign Iranian soil in Syria and in one sense it is an escalation and the concerns that this could spiral out are in many ways well founded.

Interestingly today we’ve heard reports in the local media in Syria and in the region that America appears to be distancing itself from this strike, officials saying they had no advanced knowledge.

It would appear that the reason for this missile strike was the meeting between these Revolutionary Guard commanders and the representatives of Hezbollah.

We will now have to wait and see how Iran chooses to take its revenge.

Now of course, if you are an Israeli diplomat living abroad, then you may well think that you are now more of a target.

Because Israel has targeted an Iranian embassy, we may expect to see the possibility that Itan may target Israeli diplomats or missions around the world.

And we have just seen, in the last few days suspected Iranian agents attacking an Iranian journalist here in London.

Tehran is showing, perhaps by this stabbing that it maintains the ability and the capability to attack people it sees as critical of the regime enemies of the regime around the world.

Some context that we understand that Tehran employs criminal proxies to carry out that sort of dirty work doesn’t necessarily have the same sort of sophisticated overseas operations that we might expect of other hostile actors like Russia.

But nonetheless, I think in the wake of what happened in Damascus on Monday, combined with what’s been happening across the region in recent months, there is concern and anxiety to see how Iran responds and what that will elicit from Israel. 

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