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Israel Apologizes for Strike that Killed Gaza Aid Workers, Braces for Iran Retaliation for General's Death in Syria

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel is expressing sorrow and apologizing for a mistaken air strike that killed seven aid workers. The military says it's thoroughly investigating the incident at the highest levels.

Wednesday morning, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi addressed the tragedy that took the lives of a team of international workers from World Central Kitchen (WCK) as they returned from an aid delivery in Gaza.

"I want to be very clear, the strike was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers," Halevi said. "It was a mistake that followed a misidentification at night during a war, in very complex conditions. It shouldn't have happened."

Halevi added, "This incident was a grave mistake. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the people of Gaza.  We are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK." 

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally spoke with some of the leaders of the countries from which the victims came.

"This happens in war. We are checking this thoroughly," Netanyahu said. "We are in touch with the governments and we will do everything for this not to happen again."

In the U.S., the White House is expressing outrage over how dangerous it is for aid workers in Gaza. 

"More than 200 aid workers have been killed in this conflict, making it one of the worst for aid workers in recent history," National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby stated. "This incident is emblematic of a larger problem and evidence of why distribution of aid in Gaza has been so challenging."

Meanwhile, the Israeli military continues to prepare for its controversial invasion of Rafah, Hamas' last stronghold, also the temporary home for more than a million Gazan refugees.   

While the Biden administration opposes the invasion, former Vice President Mike Pence says it's a necessity. "Israel has no choice but to invade Rafah and hunt down and destroy Hamas once and for all," Pence declared.

Rather than criticize Israel, Pence said Americans should fully support its war efforts against enemies sworn to wipe it off the map. "If the Palestinians laid down their weapons right now and released all hostages, we'd have peace. But if Israelis laid down their weapons, we'd have no Israel."

On another front, Israel is bracing for Iran's retaliation after a top Iranian general and his aide were killed by a missile strike in Syria that is being blamed on Israel.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned that whoever hits Israel will pay a price.

"We operate everywhere, every day, in order to prevent our enemies from gaining strength and in order to make it clear to anyone who acts against us – all over the Middle East – that the price for action against Israel will be a heavy one," Gallant said.

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