US President Joe Biden expressed his outrage and called for an independent investigation on Tuesday following the tragic deaths of seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers in the Gaza Strip caused by an errant Israeli air strike.

“I am outraged and heartbroken by the deaths of seven humanitarian workers from World Central Kitchen, including one American, in Gaza yesterday. They were providing food to hungry civilians in the middle of a war. They were brave and selfless. Their deaths are a tragedy,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

“Even more tragically, this is not a stand-alone incident. This conflict has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been killed,” he continued. “This is a major reason why distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult—because Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians. Incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen. Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians.”

Two branded armored cars were hit on Monday as they were leaving a warehouse in Deir Balah in central Gaza, where the WCK had been unloading humanitarian aid delivered from Cyprus. The workers killed in the airstrike reportedly include citizens of Australia, Poland, and Britain, as well as a dual US-Canada citizen. Shortly thereafter, the food-relief charity announced it was ceasing operations in Gaza until further notice.

Israel has taken full responsibility for its actions. In a video statement, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi apologized for the strike attributed to misidentification.

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification at night, during a war, in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened,” Halevi said, adding that there was no “intention of harming WCK aid workers.”

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