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Report: Israel Has Bombed Known Aid Worker Sites in Gaza at Least 8 Times

At least one of the incidents involved what is likely a U.S.-made aircraft and bomb kit, aid groups say.

Residents inspect the damaged vehicle damaged vehicle carrying Western employees after Israeli attack in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on April 2, 2024.

Israeli forces have bombed groups of humanitarian aid workers in Gaza while knowing their precise coordinates at least eight times since October, a damning new report by Human Rights Watch has found.

Aid workers were either traveling in a convoy or sheltering in a safe house when they were shelled by Israeli forces. Within these eight incidents, Israel’s attacks injured at least 16 people and killed at least 15, including two children. Overall, Israeli forces killed at least 254 aid workers between October and April, the UN has reported, including 188 UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) workers.

The attacks documented in the report were carried out on workers associated with a variety of aid organizations, including the UNRWA, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). One of the incidents is Israel’s shelling of the World Central Kitchen convoy on April 1 that killed seven international aid workers and sparked global outrage. The group had prearranged its travel with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) but was nonetheless targeted in a series of Israeli strikes on all three vehicles in the convoy.

At least one of the incidents involved what is likely a U.S.-made bomb kit.

On January 18, Israeli forces bombed the perimeter wall of a house that was sheltering 12 workers, including four doctors, affiliated with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and MAP. MAP had shared the coordinates of the house, which stands on its own without other buildings surrounding it, with Israeli officials and the UN in late 2023 and was not aware of any military targets in the area. Three people suffered injuries, according to MAP.

Human Rights Watch’s analysis of an assessment of the site by UN workers found that the attack likely involved a 1000 pound U.S.-made GBU-32, a kit developed by Boeing that allows unguided bombs to be converted to guided precision bombs. MAP and IRC previously determined that it was dropped from an F-16 jet — jets that are made in the U.S. with some parts from the U.K.

Five of the incidents were highlighted in a recent New York Times investigation in which reporters obtained copies of internal IDF communications that showed officials speaking with aid organizations to confirm coordinates that they would later bomb.

The report is the latest evidence that Israeli forces are deliberately attacking humanitarian aid workers as part of their larger campaign to dismantle the aid system in Gaza that has served as a lifeline for Palestinians for decades. Videos circulating this week also demonstrated the attacks on humanitarian aid sanctioned by the IDF, with Israeli settlers shown attacking and destroying food and other forms of assistance on aid trucks bound for Gaza, causing about $2 million of damage and instilling fear in truck drivers bringing goods to Gaza.

Aid groups have said that Israel’s targeting of their workers is severely affecting their ability to deliver lifesaving aid like food, water and medical care.

“I can’t risk sending more staff into Gaza because I cannot rely on deconfliction as a way of keeping them safe,” said a senior employee of one of the organizations whose workers came under attack, according to the report. “You can build docks and send shipments, but without a safe operating environment, you will have a pile up of shipments that people aren’t able to deploy safely to help people.”

It is a violation of international law to target aid workers with military activity. Human Rights Watch has also noted that, given Israel’s pattern of blocking and attacking humanitarian aid and workers, the report’s findings raise questions about the U.S. and U.K.’s complicity in these attacks.