US Says Strike on Gaza Food Convoy 'Unacceptable'

Truck at IDF checkpoint was hit by fire from Israeli warship, reports CNN
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2024 8:47 AM CST
Report: Israeli Navy Fired on Gaza Food Convoy
Palestinians line up for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024.   (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

Gunfire that hit a United Nations food convoy on its way to northern Gaza earlier this month, causing the suspension of food deliveries to the region, apparently came from Israeli warships, CNN reports. Nobody was injured in the Feb. 5 strike but the truck's contents, desperately needed wheat flour, were destroyed. The truck was one of 10 waiting for permission to proceed at an Israel Defense Forces holding point on the main route to northern Gaza. The rest of the convoy was denied entry. The UNWRA, the main UN agency providing food relief, shared photos on X showing damage to the truck. CNN reports that the truck was hit on the side facing the sea. Three Israeli warships were offshore.

Email correspondence shows that the relief agency had confirmed with the Israeli military that it could take the Al Rashid road to northern Gaza. "It's really difficult to see how this could be a legal attack," Janina Dill at Oxford University's Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, tells CNN. "At a minimum it would look like a very serious violation of international humanitarian law. Whether it's also criminal then depends on questions of intent, which is something that needs to be established in a court of law." A State Department spokesperson that the strike was "unacceptable" and the US has told the Israeli government there is an "absolute need for humanitarian workers to be able to safely distribute assistance."

The World Food Program suspended deliveries to northern Gaza after the strike. It said Tuesday that aid deliveries had been halted again because of "complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order," with desperate people raiding convoys before aid could be distributed. The UN children's agency says one in six children in northern Gaza are acutely malnourished, the AP reports. Al Jazeera reports that at least one person was killed earlier this week when Israeli forces opened fire on people waiting for food aid in northern Gaza. Witnesses said the attack appeared to be unprovoked. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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