The Gaza Strike: What We Know

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Seven people who work for the food organization World Central Kitchen (WCK) have been killed in an Israeli attack in Gaza.

Three of them were British and Foreign Secretary David Cameron has asked Israel to “explain as soon as possible how this happened”.

BBC Verify has been studying the aftermath of the attack, which was shared on social media, to try to piece together what we know about the incident.

Two maps.  The first is a map of Gaza.  It uses colored lines to indicate 'accessible routes', 'closed routes', 'other support routes' and 'Israeli transport routes'.  The second image is a satellite image of the battle site.  The locations of the three damaged vehicles are shown.

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Convoy

The charity says the aid workers were traveling in three vehicles – two of which were armed.

It is said that the convoy’s movement was coordinated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The group dropped more than 100 tons of food at a warehouse in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, according to the charity.

Analyzing images of three badly damaged cars – one of them with the WCK logo on the roof – BBC Verify has worked out their location.

They are about 2.5km (1.5 miles) apart, suggesting that there was more than one strike.

BBC Verify pinpointed their location by comparing their footage with satellite images of this part of Gaza.

In one photo of a heavily damaged Toyota Hilux, as well as trees and a fence near the vehicle, a lone palm tree stands on a fenced wall with a unique circular shape.

Using satellite images, the scene has been compared to a section of the Al-Rashid road – which runs along the coast in central Gaza.

An image of the second heavily damaged vehicle, where the landscape - including trees and private buildings - is rotated and compared to a satellite image of the same road.An image of the second heavily damaged vehicle, where the landscape - including trees and private buildings - is rotated and compared to a satellite image of the same road.

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In a photo of the second heavily damaged vehicle, a large hole in the fender can be seen in the roof of a separate Toyota Hilux. The WCK logo also appears.

Elsewhere, a pylon, part of the forest, a low wall and two different roofs can be seen in the background. BBC Verify has compared the incident to about 800m south of the first car.

Geo positioning of the support vehicleGeo positioning of the support vehicle

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A third wrecked car was photographed in an open area to the south, about 100m from the road.

WCK says the third vehicle was a “soft-skinned vehicle” – meaning it was unarmored. It was about 1.6km south of the second car and 2.5km of the first.

Photo of aa damaged vehicle of World Central Kitchen (WCK)Photo of aa damaged vehicle of World Central Kitchen (WCK)

The third vehicle was a “soft-skinned vehicle” according to WCK [Getty Images]

“It was a direct hit. They tried to heal others and put them in another car ahead. But they shot at the car,” said a local man, who said he had witnessed the strike.

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, WCK’s founder, Jose Andres, said the aid was clearly linked to the Israeli military.

“This was not just a case of ‘oops’ we dropped a bomb in the wrong place,” he said.

What tools would be used?

BBC Verify showed pictures of the cars to a number of equipment experts.

They do not show fragments of bullets or bombs at the scene but the experts investigated the damage to the vehicles.

Chris Cobb-Smith, a former British army chief and UN weapons chief, said the attack may have been caused by drone-launched Spike missiles.

Spike missiles are a type of powerful weapon, often launched against tanks and other armored vehicles.

Justin Crump, a former British army officer who runs Sibylline – a risk intelligence firm – agreed. They say the attack was “probably launched by a drone.”

He added that the attack was probably caused by a missile, not a bomb or a mortar.

Victims

The seven activists who were killed were named by WCK as:

  • Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, 43, is an Australian citizen

  • Damian Sobol, 35, a citizen of Poland

  • Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, from Palestine

  • Jacob Flickinger, 33, dual US-Canadian citizen

  • John Chapman, 57 years old, British citizen

  • James (Jim) Henderson, 33 years old, British citizen

  • James Kirby, 47, a British citizen

Composite image of aid workers killedComposite image of aid workers killed

WCK released photos of the victims [World Central Kitchen]

Images of the aid workers’ bodies were first posted on social media just before 22:30 BST on 1 April.

Video footage showed the bodies of five people. Two more bodies were found in Deir al-Balah later, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said on X.

WCK logos were visible on the bulletproof vests of at least three of the dead.

Videos also showed WCK colleagues identifying the bodies.

“These are the people who brought aid from the sea,” said one, before breaking into tears upon learning that a Palestinian aid worker had been killed.

The way

WCK said the food was brought to Gaza “by sea”.

Aid is delivered by sea using a jetty recently built by WCK west of Gaza City. The first delivery through the channel was on March 15th.

WCK also has a “Welcome Center” along the coastal road for refugees fleeing the north.

It is not known where the Deir al-Balah warehouse is, but WCK recently opened a new kitchen in the east of Deir al Balah, off Salah al-Din road.

A video shared to their X account last week shows a warehouse with a forklift truck and food on pallets. The location is about 5km from where the first car was hit on the coastal road.



BBC Verify asked the food aid agency for information on the warehouse and the details of the deal it shared with the Israeli army but it did not say anything.

IDF chief of staff Herzi Halevi issued a statement calling “the attack a mistake that followed a lack of awareness at night… it should not have happened”.

He added that the investigation into the incident would be completed “in the coming days”.

BBC Verify is continuing to investigate the incident.

Additional reporting by Merlyn Thomas, Osob Elmi and Joshua Cheetham

BBC Verify logoBBC Verify logo

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