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6 foreign aid workers slain in Israeli strikes taken out of Gaza

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — The bodies of six foreign aid workers killed in Israeli airstrikes began the journey back to their home countries Wednesday as they were transported out of the Gaza Strip and into Egypt, Palestinian officials said.

The three British citizens, a Polish citizen, an Australian and a Canadian American dual citizen worked for World Central Kitchen, an international charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés. Their Palestinian driver was also killed, and his remains were handed over to his family for burial in Gaza.

The seven were distributing food that had been brought into Gaza through a newly established maritime corridor when Israeli airstrikes targeted their three vehicles late Monday, killing everyone inside.

Israel’s military chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, announced the results of a preliminary investigation early Wednesday.

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification — at night during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened,” he said. He said an independent body would conduct a “thorough investigation” that would be completed in the coming days.

Successive strikes hit the three vehicles that were large distances apart, indicating precise targeting. 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.

In an op-ed published by Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper on Wednesday, Andrés wrote that “the Israeli government needs to open land routes to food and medicine today. It needs to stop killing civilians and aid workers today.”

Meanwhile, Monday’s strike on the Iranian Consulate in Damascus — which the U.S. assessed was carried out by Israel — hiked fears of a wider conflict. The strike killed 12 people.

Gen. Ramazan Sharif, a spokesman for Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, said Wednesday that “soon we will see deadlier blows” against Israel by “the Resistance Front.”

He appeared to be referring to Iran and its allies across the region, including the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and other armed groups in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iran has long vowed to destroy Israel.

The top U.S. Air Force commander for the Middle East, Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, said Wednesday that the U.S. is concerned that the Damascus strike could trigger new attacks on American troops by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel is “increasing preparedness” and “expanding our operations against Hezbollah and against other bodies that threaten us.”

The Israel-Hamas war was triggered Oct. 7 by a Hamas terrorist attack that killed some 1,200 people and resulted in around 250 being taken hostage.

Nearly 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s assault in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its count.

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