Israel's highest-ranking officer makes grovelling apology for 'grave mistake' after his forces killed seven aid workers including three British veterans by bombing charity cars: Calls for 'war crime' probe grow – as all victims are pictured

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Israel’s highest-ranking officer has apologised for making a ‘grave mistake’ after his forces killed seven aid workers by bombing a clearly marked food convoy in Gaza.

Former Royal Marines James Henderson and John Chapman and an ex-soldier named last night as James Kirby were among the victims of the ‘outrageous’ drone strike that has triggered worldwide condemnation.

The team, which was providing security for the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity, were hit on Monday as they moved food from a warehouse to distribute to Gaza’s starving population. 

Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) chief Herzi Halevi has now expressed remorse over the killings, which he says were the result of a ‘misidentification’ in complex conditions. He gave no further details.

Lt. Gen. Halevi admitted the bombing ‘shouldn’t have happened’ and said an independent body would conduct a ‘thorough investigation’ that would be completed in the coming days.

Aid agencies accused Israel of deliberately targeting their staff and experts, including the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counterterror, have warned the killing of WCK workers could be a war crime.

Israel's highest-ranking officer chief Herzi Halevi (pictured in a video posted to X early this morning) has apologised for making a 'grave mistake' after his forces killed seven aid workers by bombing a clearly marked food convoy in Gaza

Israel’s highest-ranking officer chief Herzi Halevi (pictured in a video posted to X early this morning) has apologised for making a ‘grave mistake’ after his forces killed seven aid workers by bombing a clearly marked food convoy in Gaza

James Henderson, 33, (pictured) was a former special forces operator and a member of the Royal Marines for six years, was killed in the bombing. He had been providing security for the World Central Kitchen charity in Gaza

James Henderson, 33, (pictured) was a former special forces operator and a member of the Royal Marines for six years, was killed in the bombing. He had been providing security for the World Central Kitchen charity in Gaza

John Chapman, 57, (pictured) is also thought to have served in the Special Boat Squadron, part of the UK's Special Forces. He had only been in Gaza for a 'matter of weeks' when he was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Monday

John Chapman, 57, (pictured) is also thought to have served in the Special Boat Squadron, part of the UK’s Special Forces. He had only been in Gaza for a ‘matter of weeks’ when he was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Monday

An ex-soldier named last night as James Kirby (pictured) was also among the victims of the 'outrageous' drone strike that has triggered worldwide condemnation

An ex-soldier named last night as James Kirby (pictured) was also among the victims of the ‘outrageous’ drone strike that has triggered worldwide condemnation

‘This incident was a grave mistake,’ Lt. Gen. Halevi said in a video message posted on X early Wednesday morning, as he announced the results of IDF’s ‘preliminary debrief’ into the killings.

‘I want to be very clear – 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: ‘Israel is at a war with Hamas, not the people of Gaza.’ 

Lt. Gen. Halevi revealed a probe has been launched into the incident in the coming days and said the conclusions of the independent investigation would be implemented immediately and shared with WCK and other ‘relevant’ international organisations.

He said he has visited the new Humanitarian Command Center that was established on Tuesday to ‘improve the way we coordinate aid distribution in Gaza’.

‘We will continue taking immediate actions to ensure that more is done to protect humanitarian aid workers,’ he said, adding that IDF was ‘sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK’.

He said the army ‘shared in the grief’ of the victims’ loved ones, adding: ‘We see great importance in the continued delivery of humanitarian aid, and we will keep working to facilitate this vital effort.’

A Palestinian man stands next to the damaged vehicle where employees from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), including foreigners, were killed in an Israeli airstrike n Deir Al-Balah

A Palestinian man stands next to the damaged vehicle where employees from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), including foreigners, were killed in an Israeli airstrike n Deir Al-Balah

Palestinians are standing next to a vehicle in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, on April 2, 2024, where employees from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), including foreigners, were killed in an Israeli airstrike

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen that was wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen that was wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday

Horrific photographs showed how a huge hole had been blown in the roof of one car, with the vehicle's interior torn to shreds by the force of the blast

Horrific photographs showed how a huge hole had been blown in the roof of one car, with the vehicle’s interior torn to shreds by the force of the blast

Heavily damaged vehicle of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organisation World Central Kitchen (WCK)

Heavily damaged vehicle of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organisation World Central Kitchen (WCK)

Passports of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), who are killed after an Israeli attack on a vehicle belonging to WCK in Deir Al-Balah of Gaza on April 2, 2024

Passports of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), who are killed after an Israeli attack on a vehicle belonging to WCK in Deir Al-Balah of Gaza on April 2, 2024

World Central Kitchen said it had coordinated with the Israeli military over the movement of its cars. 

Three vehicles that were moving at large distances apart were hit in succession. They were left incinerated and mangled, indicating multiple targeted strikes.

READ MORE: Picked off one by one, the three British ex-forces heroes who became Israeli targets in airstrike on food charity vehicles in Gaza: How disaster unfolded step by step – as ‘shocked’ Sunak demands answers but Netanyahu insists ‘this happens in war’
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At least one of the vehicles had the charity’s logo printed across its roof to make it identifiable from the air, and the ordnance punched a large hole through the roof. 

It is understood that the strike – which an Israeli military source has branded as an ‘intelligence failure’ – was carried out by drone via an operator with the 933 brigade that was based in Khan Yunis, The Telegraph reported. 

The strike reportedly would have been signed off by three individuals, including an intelligence officer, senior commander and military legal adviser.

Israeli security sources told Haaretz newspaper that IDF drones had trailed the food convoy and the army had reason to believe a Hamas operative was travelling with the group.

Subsequent intelligence has since revealed that the terror suspect had stayed behind when the convoy left its warehouse in Deir Al-Balah, the insiders said.

‘The armed man did not leave the warehouse,’ the newspaper reported, citing defence sources. ‘The cars travelled along a route preapproved and coordinated with the IDF.’ 

The strikes on the charity’s convoy highlighted what critics say is Israel’s indiscriminate bombing and lack of regard for civilian casualties in Gaza.

Israeli authorities blame Hamas for civilian deaths because the fighters operate in populated areas.

Jacob Flickinger, 33, (pictured) has been named as the American-Canadian citizen who was one of seven food charity workers killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza late Monday night

Jacob Flickinger, 33, (pictured) has been named as the American-Canadian citizen who was one of seven food charity workers killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza late Monday night

Polish national Damian Sobol, 35, (pictured) was also killed in the drone strike on Monday

Polish national Damian Sobol, 35, (pictured) was also killed in the drone strike on Monday

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese demanded 'full accountability' from Israel over the death of aid worker Lalzawmi 'Zomi' Frankcom, 43, (pictured) who was the leader of the relief team and killed in the convoy

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese demanded ‘full accountability’ from Israel over the death of aid worker Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom, 43, (pictured) who was the leader of the relief team and killed in the convoy

Palestinian worker Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, (pictured) was also killed when missiles struck the convoy on Monday

Palestinian worker Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, (pictured) was also killed when missiles struck the convoy on Monday

READ MORE: Three British ex-forces heroes are named among the seven aid workers killed by Israeli airstrike on clearly marked food charity vehicles in Gaza: ‘Shocked and saddened’ Rishi Sunak demands response – but Netanyahu says ‘this happens in war’ 

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Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged that Israeli forces were to blame, saying the aid workers had been killed by an ‘unintended strike’. He said officials were ‘checking thoroughly’ what had happened. 

Mr Netanyahu was last night under intense pressure to explain why the attack happened – and to guarantee that there will be no further strikes against aid workers.

Ships carrying 240 tonnes of food aid were yesterday reported to have turned back from Gaza in the wake of the bombing, adding to the humanitarian crisis in the narrow strip of land.

Rishi Sunak last night told Mr Netanyahu he was ‘appalled by the killing of aid workers’.

In a phone conversation the Prime Minister demanded a ‘thorough and transparent independent investigation into what happened’.

Downing Street said Mr Sunak told the Israeli PM that the situation was becoming ‘increasingly intolerable’ and that ‘far too many aid workers and ordinary civilians have lost their lives in Gaza’.

A No 10 spokesman said: ‘The UK expects to see immediate action by Israel to end restrictions on humanitarian aid, deconflict with the UN and aid agencies, protect civilians and repair vital infrastructure like hospitals and water networks.

‘The Prime Minister reiterated that Israel’s rightful aim of defeating Hamas would not be achieved by allowing a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.’

Volunteers at international aid organization inspect the vehicles as vehicles of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), who are killed, are heavily damaged during an Israeli attack on a vehicle belonging to WCK in Deir Al-Balah of Gaza on April 2, 2024

Volunteers at international aid organization inspect the vehicles as vehicles of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), who are killed, are heavily damaged during an Israeli attack on a vehicle belonging to WCK in Deir Al-Balah of Gaza on April 2, 2024

A UN worker holds James Henderson's passport at the scene of the strike

A UN worker holds James Henderson’s passport at the scene of the strike

People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, April 2, 2024

People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Passports of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen who were killed in an Israeli airstrike on April 1, 2024 are seen after the attack

Passports of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen who were killed in an Israeli airstrike on April 1, 2024 are seen after the attack

For weeks the Foreign Office has been considering whether Israel has broken international law and has threatened to cut off arms supplies to the country.

Calls have now emerged for intelligence sharing to be scaled back if UK legal advice concludes Israel has fallen short of its requirement to demonstrate a commitment to international law, according to The Telegraph. 

Alicia Kearns, chairwoman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, has said that there must be a ‘thorough and swift’ investigation into the airstrike.

She added: ‘There is also still no explanation for the bombing of the Medical Aid for Palestine complex in a safe zone, which had also been deconflicted directly with the IDF in January, which four British doctors fortunately survived.

READ MORE: All women hostages held in Gaza are being sexually abused, freed Israeli woman says
An image grab from a handout video released by the Hamas Media Office shows a Hamas fighter and a Red Cross medic accompanying a newly released Israeli hostage Maya Regev to a Red Cross vehicle, in the Gaza Strip early on November 26, 2023

An image grab from a handout video released by the Hamas Media Office shows a Hamas fighter and a Red Cross medic accompanying a newly released Israeli hostage Maya Regev to a Red Cross vehicle, in the Gaza Strip early on November 26, 2023

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‘Humanitarian agencies must be given the assurances they need that their people will be protected.’

She also told the newspaper that a ‘determination that Israel is not demonstrating a commitment to international humanitarian law would have implications for our intelligence-sharing, alongside arms sales.’ 

Similarly, Lord David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, told his Israeli counterpart that the attack was ‘completely unacceptable’. Israel’s ambassador to the UK was also summoned to the Foreign Office for a dressing down.

In a strongly worded statement, Sir Keir Starmer said the attack was ‘outrageous and unacceptable’, adding: ‘This war must stop now.’

Some Labour MPs demanded an immediate end to arms sales to Israel. Former shadow justice secretary and Left-winger Richard Burgon said the UK had licensed almost £500million worth of arms sales to Israel and suggested this was ‘the latest incident where UK military exports may have been used in attacks on British nationals’.

The SNP has also demanded that any legal advice given to the Government on whether Israel has broken international law be released. 

Ben Saul, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counterterror, has warned the killing of WCK workers could be a war crime.

He told The Telegraph: ‘It’s a human tragedy. But, of course, it could well be a violation of international humanitarian law, under which Israel has a duty not to deliberately target humanitarian relief workers or their convoys or their relief consignments.’

Prof Saul argued that Israel has a ‘wider duty’ to ensure the safety of aid workers and their ‘freedom of movement’, and to ‘coordinate with them so that these kinds of tragedies never happen’.

World Central Kitchen workers gather around the bodies of their colleagues after they were transferred to Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah

World Central Kitchen workers gather around the bodies of their colleagues after they were transferred to Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah

WCK staff were seen mourning their dead colleagues as their bodies were loaded into an ambulance

WCK staff were seen mourning their dead colleagues as their bodies were loaded into an ambulance

Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom (pictured), 44, from Melbourne , was killed along with three other international aid workers and a Palestinian driver, in Central Gaza, while working with the World Central Kitchen charity on Monday

Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom (pictured), 44, from Melbourne , was killed along with three other international aid workers and a Palestinian driver, in Central Gaza, while working with the World Central Kitchen charity on Monday

The Polish man has also been named by authorities as Damian Soból (pictured), who worked for the charity bringing aid into Gaza

The Polish man has also been named by authorities as Damian Soból (pictured), who worked for the charity bringing aid into Gaza 

James Henderson, 33, was a member of the Royal Marines for six years, according to his LinkedIn profile

James Henderson, 33, was a member of the Royal Marines for six years, according to his LinkedIn profile

Mr Henderson, 33, had served in the Royal Marines for six years. Mr Chapman, 57, is also thought to have served in the Special Boat Squadron, part of the UK’s Special Forces.

The third man was named last night by the BBC as James Kirby. He is understood to be an Army veteran. All three were working for a private firm providing security to the aid convoy.

What is World Central Kitchen? 

Founded in 2010, World Central Kitchen delivers freshly prepared meals to people in need following natural disasters, like hurricanes or earthquakes, or to those enduring conflict. The group has also provided meals to migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border, as well as to hospital staff who worked relentlessly during the coronavirus pandemic.

The aid group sends in teams who can cook meals that appeal to the local palate on a large scale and fast.

‘When you talk about food and water, people don’t want a solution one week from now, one month from now. The solution has to be now,’ Andrés is quoted as saying on the group’s website.

World Central Kitchen has worked in dozens of affected areas and currently has teams in Haiti, addressing the needs of Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion, as well as providing meals to people affected by the war in Gaza.

In Gaza, the group says it has provided more than 43 million meals to Palestinians.

The group has set up two main kitchens in the southern city of Rafah and the central town of Deir al-Balah. It lends support to 68 community kitchens throughout the territory, serving more than 170,000 hot meals a day.

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They died alongside American-Canadian dual citizen Jacob Flickinger, 33, Australian national Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom, 43, who was the leader of the relief team, Polish national Damian Sobol, 35, and Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25. 

Whitehall sources last night acknowledged that the ‘horrendous’ attack would make it harder for the Government to maintain its steadfast support for Israel’s operation in Gaza.

One insider said: ‘This sort of thing just cannot be allowed to happen. We have shown support for Israel but that is contingent on them conducting themselves in a certain way, including acting in line with international humanitarian law.’

Israel was under mounting pressure last night to explain why its forces had targeted a respected charity whose staff were travelling in clearly marked vehicles. Three missiles from a single drone hit the three vehicles one by one. 

Shocking pictures from the scene showed that one missile had punched straight through the prominently displayed logo of the charity on the roof of an armoured vehicle.

The convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where workers had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza by sea.

The WCK said it had co-ordinated the movement of its team in Gaza in advance with the Israeli Defence Forces.

WCK chief executive Erin Gore described it as a ‘targeted attack’ designed to deter aid agencies working in Gaza – which has been subjected to months of bombardment following the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel.

She said she was ‘heartbroken and appalled’, adding: ‘This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organisations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable.’ Deliberate attacks on civilians, including aid workers, are considered a war crime.

Israel last night faced condemnation from around the world. Poland, Australia and Canada demanded answers from Israel about the deaths of their citizens.

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese demanded ‘full accountability’ from Israel over the death of aid worker Lalzawmi Frankcom who was killed in the convoy.

US President Joe Biden was ‘heartbroken’, his press secretary said.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) barge loaded with food arrives off the Gaza coast, where there is risk of famine after five months of Israel's military campaign on March 15, 2024

World Central Kitchen (WCK) barge loaded with food arrives off the Gaza coast, where there is risk of famine after five months of Israel’s military campaign on March 15, 2024

Israeli troops, in a photo released by the Israeli army on April 1, 2024, are seen operating in the Gaza Strip amid the continuing battle with Hamas

Israeli troops, in a photo released by the Israeli army on April 1, 2024, are seen operating in the Gaza Strip amid the continuing battle with Hamas

An Israeli soldier, in a photo released by Israel's army on April 1, 2024, holds his gun as he and his troops operate in the Gaza Strip

An Israeli soldier, in a photo released by Israel’s army on April 1, 2024, holds his gun as he and his troops operate in the Gaza Strip

Humanitarian aid is pictured being air dropped over Gaza from an RAF A400M Atlas aircraft in a photo issued by Britain's Ministry of Defence on April 1, 2024

Humanitarian aid is pictured being air dropped over Gaza from an RAF A400M Atlas aircraft in a photo issued by Britain’s Ministry of Defence on April 1, 2024

Mr Sunak said the aid workers were ‘doing fantastic work…. They need to be allowed to do that work unhindered and it is incumbent on Israel to make sure they can do that’.

Last night protesters led by families of Israeli hostages and anti-government groups marched on the PM’s residence in Jerusalem.

Mr Netanyahu said: ‘Unfortunately over the last day there was a tragic incident of an unintended strike of our forces on innocent people in the Gaza Strip.’

He said officials were ‘checking this thoroughly’ but added: ‘It happens in war… and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again.’

The IDF expressed its ‘deepest condolences’ to the families of the aid workers, and said it was ‘reviewing the incident at the highest levels’.

The Spanish chef behind charity feeding the people of Gaza 

By Sam Greenhill Chief Reporter 

Chef José Andrés, the Founder and Chief Feeding Officer for World Central Kitchen

Chef José Andrés, the Founder and Chief Feeding Officer for World Central Kitchen

In disaster zones there are always people going hungry – and World Central Kitchen’s ethos is to feed them ‘not tomorrow, today’.

Set up by restaurateur José Andrés, the charity provides healthy meals to families in need all over the world. Flamboyant chef Mr Andrés has made it his life’s mission to set up field kitchens in some of the world’s most dangerous spots.

He said: ‘When you need medical service, you bring doctors and nurses. When you need the rebuilding of infrastructure, you bring in engineers and architects. And if you have to feed people, you need professional chefs.’ 

Born in Spain, Mr Andrés moved to New York aged 21 with just $50 (£40) in his wallet – he went on to own several restaurants across the U.S.

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, he flew there to cook alongside families made homeless who were living in a camp, learning from them in order to create proper comfort food for survivors of a crisis.

Since then, WCK has expanded to serve more than 350million hot meals following hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis, volcano eruptions and wars around the world, including Gaza.

WCK said its team in Gaza has operated there for nearly six months and supplied more than 42 million meals to Palestinians.

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Picked off one by one, the three British ex-forces heroes who became Israeli targets in airstrike on food charity vehicles in Gaza: How disaster unfolded step by step – as ‘shocked’ Sunak demands answers but Netanyahu insists ‘this happens in war’ 

By Andy Jehring, Mark Nicol and David Averre

Late on Monday night three cars from the World Central Kitchen pulled out of the organisation’s warehouse in Gaza to distribute aid to Palestinians.

Each vehicle was clearly marked as working for the humanitarian organisation, followed an IDF-approved route and had GPS trackers and SOS beacons broadcasting their positions.

But despite taking every precaution, the seven brave volunteers inside the cars were being watched – and were soon deemed hostile targets and eliminated.

Among the doomed passengers were former Royal Marine James Henderson, 33; former SBS soldier John Chapman, 57; as well as a British military veteran named last night by the BBC as James Kirby.

Each were well-versed in operating in the most hostile environments on the planet and would have briefed the IDF of their exact movements and plans that night.

James Henderson, 33, was travelling in a clearly marked car operated by World Central Kitchen, a charity providing meals to Palestinians in the war torn enclave, when the convoy was hit with three missiles fired by an IDF drone

James Henderson, 33, was travelling in a clearly marked car operated by World Central Kitchen, a charity providing meals to Palestinians in the war torn enclave, when the convoy was hit with three missiles fired by an IDF drone

John Chapman (pictured) and James Henderson were travelling in a clearly marked car operated by World Central Kitchen (WCK), a charity providing meals to Palestinians in the war-torn enclave, when the convoy was hit with three missiles fired by an IDF drone

John Chapman (pictured) and James Henderson were travelling in a clearly marked car operated by World Central Kitchen (WCK), a charity providing meals to Palestinians in the war-torn enclave, when the convoy was hit with three missiles fired by an IDF drone

Images of the passports of Mr Chapman and Mr Henderson, which were found at the scene, were shared after their deaths

Images of the passports of Mr Chapman and Mr Henderson, which were found at the scene, were shared after their deaths

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen that was wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen that was wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip

They were accompanying Polish aid worker Damian Sobol and his Australian colleague Lalzawmi Frankcom, as well as a U.S.-Canadian dual national and a local driver, Saif Abu Taha.

Israeli forces had seen the volunteers entering the main distribution hub in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, with a larger convoy to collect the aid.

READ MORE: Three British ex-forces heroes are named among the seven aid workers killed by Israeli airstrike on clearly marked food charity vehicles in Gaza: ‘Shocked and saddened’ Rishi Sunak demands response – but Netanyahu says ‘this happens in war’ 

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A member of the IDF unit had identified an armed man as a potential threat on one of the trucks that had accompanied the three humanitarian vehicles, a security source told Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

While neither the suspect nor the truck left with the World Central Kitchen (WCK) cars, a Hermes 450 drone was scrambled to follow them. Two of the cars had some form of armour plating, while the third was a ‘soft-skinned’ 4×4, and all of them had clear WCK markings on the roof and doors.

Despite this, the IDF unit responsible for securing the area ordered UAV operators to attack one of the vehicles shortly before midnight.

It deployed a precision R9X Hellfire missile which smashed into one of the armoured cars. Passengers were seen scrambling from the wreckage and jumping into the other two vehicles.

They informed authorities monitoring their movements that they had been hit and sped off.

After travelling just 900 metres the Hermes 450 fired once more. 

The second armoured car was hit, leaving just the soft-skinned 4×4 remaining. Surviving passengers loaded the wounded into the final vehicle and pulled away.

Polish World Central Kitchen and aid worker Damian Sobol, who was killed by Israeli airstrike in Gaza

Polish World Central Kitchen and aid worker Damian Sobol, who was killed by Israeli airstrike in Gaza

Lalzawmi 'Zomi' Frankcom died ¿doing the work she loves¿, her family said in a statement

Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom died ‘doing the work she loves’, her family said in a statement

Relatives and friends carry the body of Saif Abu Taha, a staff member of World Central Kitchen who was killed in the strikes

Relatives and friends carry the body of Saif Abu Taha, a staff member of World Central Kitchen who was killed in the strikes

Palestinians are standing next to a vehicle in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, on April 2, 2024, where employees from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), including foreigners, were killed in an Israeli airstrike

Palestinians are standing next to a vehicle in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, on April 2, 2024, where employees from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), including foreigners, were killed in an Israeli airstrike

Heavily damaged vehicle of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organisation World Central Kitchen (WCK)

Heavily damaged vehicle of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organisation World Central Kitchen (WCK)

What is World Central Kitchen? 

Founded in 2010, World Central Kitchen delivers freshly prepared meals to people in need following natural disasters, like hurricanes or earthquakes, or to those enduring conflict. The group has also provided meals to migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border, as well as to hospital staff who worked relentlessly during the coronavirus pandemic.

The aid group sends in teams who can cook meals that appeal to the local palate on a large scale and fast.

‘When you talk about food and water, people don’t want a solution one week from now, one month from now. The solution has to be now,’ Andrés is quoted as saying on the group’s website.

World Central Kitchen has worked in dozens of affected areas and currently has teams in Haiti, addressing the needs of Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion, as well as providing meals to people affected by the war in Gaza.

In Gaza, the group says it has provided more than 43 million meals to Palestinians.

The group has set up two main kitchens in the southern city of Rafah and the central town of Deir al-Balah. It lends support to 68 community kitchens throughout the territory, serving more than 170,000 hot meals a day.

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But having made it 1.5km further along the coastal road the UAV fired for a third time – blasting the remaining vehicle to bits.

Local Nael Eliyan, living in a tent yards away, sprinted to the wreckage. ‘Their injuries were serious and they died quickly,’ he said.

Harrowing pictures showed how a huge hole had been blown in the roof of one car, with its interior torn to shreds. Another vehicle was missing most of its rear end.

By 1am local time images were being shared on social media showing the bloodied corpses of the seven victims laid out in a nearby building. There were also images of the passports of Mr Chapman and Mr Henderson, which were found at the scene.

As news of the ‘unforgivable’ disaster spread, loved ones around the world began to pay tribute. Relatives of Mr Henderson in Falmouth, Cornwall, heard of his death on Tuesday morning.

A friend told the Mail: ‘He hadn’t been out there long, only a couple of weeks. He was a lovely lad.’

Mr Henderson had served in the Royal Marines for six years before going to work for security contractors. He and the other two British men were reportedly working for Solace Global, a security firm based in Poole, Dorset.

Mr Chapman, a former Royal Marine and SBS soldier, lived nearby with his wife and their two children. Mrs Chapman was too upset to talk last night.  

A former comrade told The Sun: ‘He was a very well liked guy, a very popular bloke and this is a huge loss for his family, his friends and for the veteran community.

‘People trying to deliver aid into Gaza are doing the right thing and they need support and protection from people like John and his colleagues.’

Hundreds gathered in Gaza to mourn the driver, Saif Abu Taha, whose body was transported to Rafah, his home town, where his relatives and friends carried him on their shoulders.

Saif Issam Abu Taha, the Palestinian driver of the World Central Kitchen delegation, was also among the dead

Saif Issam Abu Taha, the Palestinian driver of the World Central Kitchen delegation, was also among the dead

Damian Sobol, from Przemysl in south-eastern Poland, was described in a Facebook post as a ¿fantastic boy¿ by the city¿s mayor

Damian Sobol, from Przemysl in south-eastern Poland, was described in a Facebook post as a ‘fantastic boy’ by the city’s mayor

Aid worker Zomi Frankcom, who was from Melbourne, Australia was described as a ¿kind, selfless and outstanding human being [who] travelled the world helping others in their time of need¿

Aid worker Zomi Frankcom, who was from Melbourne, Australia was described as a ‘kind, selfless and outstanding human being [who] travelled the world helping others in their time of need’

Horrific photographs showed how a huge hole had been blown in the roof of one car, with the vehicle's interior torn to shreds by the force of the blast

Horrific photographs showed how a huge hole had been blown in the roof of one car, with the vehicle’s interior torn to shreds by the force of the blast

A close friend who gave his name as Hassan said: ‘Our hearts are broken by your death, Saif. You have hurt us with your passing, and we will not forget you.’

Lalzawmi Frankcom died ‘doing the work she loves’, her family said in a statement.

The aid worker, who was from Melbourne, Australia was described as a ‘kind, selfless and outstanding human being [who] travelled the world helping others in their time of need’.

Damian Sobol, from Przemysl in south-eastern Poland, was described in a Facebook post as a ‘fantastic boy’ by the city’s mayor, who said that words could not describe how those who had known him were feeling.

More than 196 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since October, according to the U.S.-funded Aid Worker Security Database, which records major incidents of violence against aid personnel.