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Bodies of foreign aid workers transferred to Egypt from Gaza

  People transfer the body of a victim at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, on Feb 29, 2024. [Xinhua]

Bodies of the six foreign aid workers, who were killed in an Israeli strike, have been transferred to Egypt via the Rafah crossing for repatriation, the General Administration for Crossings and Borders in Gaza said Wednesday in a statement.

"Bodies of the six foreign workers from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) organization were taken to the Egyptian side in preparation for their return to their countries," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Herzi Halevi, the Israeli chief of the general  staff, said in a statement on social media platform X, "we have completed the initial investigation into the circumstances of this incident, and I say clearly that the employees were not deliberately targeted."

"The tragic incident occurred due to the mistaken identification of their identities amid extremely complex circumstances during the nighttime hours and a war, and it should not have happened," he said.

He noted that the Israeli army is working closely with the WCK and highly appreciates its important work, adding "we will continue to work to protect international organizations involved in distributing humanitarian aid."

According to the Hamas media office in Gaza, the workers, of different nationalities, were killed after "two cars were targeted while they were traveling on the sea road west of Deir al-Balah" in central Gaza, as they were on the way to receive aid arriving from the port of Cyprus via sea route.

In a statement, the WCK said the seven staff members were from Palestine, Australia, Poland, Britain, and a dual-citizen of Canada and the United States.

The aid group noted the targeted team "was traveling in a demilitarized zone in two armored cars bearing the organization's logo."

The team was hit while leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse after unloading more than 100 tons of food aid there despite coordinating movements with the Israel Defense Forces, the WCK added. 

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