US welcomes Israel ‘taking responsibility’ for Gaza aid worker killings

US welcomes Israel ‘taking responsibility’ for Gaza aid worker killings

BRUSSELS: The United States on Friday welcomed Israel taking “full responsibility” for killing seven aid workers in Gaza, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Washington would follow up with Israeli officials in coming days.

“It’s very important that Israel is taking full responsibility for this incident. It’s also important that it appears to be taking steps to hold those responsible accountable,“ Blinken said as he boarded a flight after a three-day visit to Brussels.

“Even more important is making sure that steps are taken going forward to ensure that something like this can never happen again,“ he said.

Israel earlier Friday admitted that mistakes led to the killings on Monday of the seven aid workers — a US-Canadian, three Britons, a Pole, an Australian and a Palestinian — who were targeted by an Israeli drone and taken out by successive precision missiles.

The aid workers’ charity, World Central Kitchen, has called for an independent investigation into their deaths.

Blinken noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to US President Joe Biden to change his country’s military procedures so that aid workers in Gaza would be protected in future.

“We’re going to be looking very carefully at what those steps are, how it achieves better de-confliction, better coordination, so that aid workers are protected,“ Blinken said.

He said the US government will “very carefully” review Israel’s own probe into the killings and “we’ll be discussing its conclusions with Israeli officials and with humanitarian organisations in the days to come”.

Earlier Friday, the US secretary of state said Washington also wanted to see “results” from Israel’s promise to allow aid deliveries to reach famine-threatened northern Gaza.

The United Nations has warned of “catastrophic” hunger in the besieged Palestinian territory.

The bloodiest-ever war in Gaza follows a Hamas attack on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Palestinian militants also took around 250 hostages, about 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 34 whom the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory military assault has killed at least 33,037 people, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.


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