Canada contacts Israel after aid agency says water truck bombed in ‘targeted’ attack

22 April 2024
Canada contacts Israel after aid agency says water truck bombed in ‘targeted’ attack

International Development and Relief Foundation calling on federal government to investigate.

A Canadian humanitarian organization says its key water-aid truck was bombed in Gaza this week, and the federal government now says it has contacted the Israeli government for “more information” on the incident.

Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday evening that the government reached out to Israel after hearing that the truck operated by the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) had been bombed.

“The rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for Palestinian people is critical. Upon hearing that IDRF Canada’s water truck had been bombed, my office reached out to them and we have contacted the Israeli government for more information on the incident,” Hussen said, calling attacks on humanitarian aid workers and operations “unacceptable.”

The response comes after the aid agency called on Ottawa to mount a full investigation into what it believes was a “targeted” incident. The IDRF, a registered non-profit based in Toronto, told CBC News that the incident is believed to be the first bombing of a Canadian aid truck during the current war in Gaza.

“It’s hard not to see this as further targeting of the international aid community,” Zeina Osman, the IDRF’s director of impact, told CBC News on Friday night. The organization wouldn’t say outright if it believes the Israeli military was responsible and is calling on the Canadian government to investigate.

IDRF chief operating officer Nabil Ali wants the Canadian government to investigate after the charity’s primary water aid truck was bombed in Gaza.

The truck was bombed in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the relief agency said. It was parked outside the Tuffah district in the northern part of Gaza at the time, and was clearly marked with the organization’s name and a maple leaf, it added.

CBC News asked Global Affairs Canada how it will ensure that information from Israel on the incident is accurate and whether it will provide its own investigators. Hussen’s office did not address those questions in its response.

‘Humanitarian principles are not being upheld’: agency

The incident came just over two weeks after Israel admitted that it mistakenly struck a World Central Kitchen convoy, killing seven aid workers, including dual Canada-U.S. citizen Jacob Flickinger.

IDRF chief operating officer Nabil Ali said Friday that the agency had notified Global Affairs Canada about the bombing but had not received a response at the time.

“We’re looking for the Canadian government’s support,” he said. “At a minimum, the government has to … investigate what happened to understand exactly how this could happen to a Canadian aid agency providing services on the ground.”

In response to Hussen’s post, the agency replied on X that it awaits the report from the Israeli government.

CBC News has contacted Israel’s Ministry of Defence for comment.

Canada, Australia, U.K. demand answers after Israeli strike kills 7 aid workers in Gaza

Parents of Quebecer killed in Gaza say Israeli strike was ‘targeted killing of aid workers’

Ali said the aid truck had been out Tuesday delivering water. When IDRF workers returned to it Wednesday morning, they found it had been destroyed, he said.

“It was a shock to the whole team, and we’re very, very thankful that no one on our team was hurt by it. But it really has shaken us up and we’re really worried about what the future holds for us right now,” he said.

“We would question why a water tank that provides clean drinking water was bombed. It makes absolutely no sense.

“The basics of humanitarian principles are not being upheld and that’s a real issue.”

Canada must demand ‘real accountability’: NDP

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called on the federal government to “demand an independent investigation and real accountability” following the incident.

“This cannot continue and it cannot be normalized,” he said in a post Saturday on X, formerly Twitter.

Liberal MP Sameer Zuberi threw his support behind that call in a post on X Saturday evening, though the federal government itself had not yet commented.

“An independent investigation is needed. Humanitarian organizations must never be targets,” he said in part.

As of last week, Canada would not say if it is still pursuing further investigations into the airstrike on the World Central Kitchen convoy. Global Affairs has not responded, nor has it said whether it wishes to involve its own investigators in any probe, or to have direct access to the Israeli soldiers involved.

Countries that lost citizens in aid convoy attack reject Israel Defense Forces report

Aid agency UNRWA says it could run out of funding for Gaza in a month

Singh’s call for Canada to act echoed that of NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson a day earlier.

“A Canadian charity’s water truck was bombed in Gaza. Attacks on humanitarians continue. @MelanieJoly, what actions are you taking to end this horror?” she said on X.

Ontario Liberal MP Salma Zahid also commented on X, calling the incident “disappointing and devastating news.”

“Water is life, and access to clean drinking water is a life-saving issue for millions in Gaza. Humanitarian groups like @IDRFcanada are doing vital work and all parties to conflict have an obligation to ensure their protection.”

The IDRF says the truck was paid for by Canadian donor dollars and that thousands in Gaza will be without water as a result of the bombing. (Submitted by IDRF)

Late last month, the top United Nations court ordered Israel to open more land crossings to allow supplies including food, water and fuel into the war-ravaged enclave, where 2.3 million civilians — more than half of whom are estimated to be displaced by the fighting — face crippling shortages of necessities.

The International Court of Justice issued two new so-called provisional measures in a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of acts of genocide in its military campaign in Gaza, launched after the deadly Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

Israel stringently denies it is committing genocide. It says its military campaign is one of self-defence and urged the court not to issue new orders.

Incident ‘may not be the last,’ says aid agency

Ali said the water truck was paid for entirely from Canadian donor dollars, and that thousands will be without water as a result of the bombing.

“That truck was a staple in providing people with clean drinking water on a daily basis,” he said.

The relief agency said on X that over the last six months, the truck delivered clean drinking water to tens of thousands, “serving as a lifeline” in northern and central Gaza.

Israel must take steps to allow more food and water into Gaza, UN top court orders


Iran and Israel may have taken a step back from a catastrophic regional war

It also said it will continue to operate, albeit with smaller tanks, which will make delivering aid more difficult — and reiterated calls for an “immediate and lasting ceasefire.”

“This incident shows the dangers that humanitarian workers face every day. It’s not the first time aid workers have been targeted in this crisis, and sadly, it may not be the last,” it said.

“We refuse to accept a reality where delivering life-saving aid comes at such a devastating cost.”

Source: cbc

Breaking News
Cookies allow us to personalize content and ads, provide social media features, and analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners.
I accept!