Step-by-step timeline reveals how Israel’s bungling Black Snake drone unit ‘used precise Spike missiles to kill 3 Brits’

Step-by-step timeline reveals how Israel’s bungling Black Snake drone unit ‘used precise Spike missiles to kill 3 Brits’

AN Israeli air force squadron known as “Black Snake” is believed to have blitzed the aid convoy carrying three Brits in an “absolutely accurate” Spike missile strike.

An ex-British Army major, who has worked closely with the IDF, said it was highly likely that the lethal, bunker-busting missiles were fired in quick succession by a drone into the vehicles.

The aid convoy suffered direct missile hits to each car that killed seven charity workers – including three Brits – on Monday night

WikipediaThe IDF’s anti-tank, precision Spike missiles are believed to have been used in the triple strike[/caption]

AFPIsrael’s Hermes 450 drone that could have responsible for launching the strike[/caption]

On Monday night, a rogue IDF unit called in multiple drone strikes on a convoy of three aid vehicles, belonging to World Central Kitchen (WCK), travelling along Gaza’s coast road.

The three pinpoint hits killed seven charity workers who were delivering food aid to starving Gazans.

The British victims included a former SBS special forces hero John Chapman, 57, ex-Royal Marine James Henderson, 33, and former Rifleman James Kirby, 47.

Also killed were an Australian, a Pole, an American-Palestinian and a Canadian-Palestinian.

Israel has insisted the deadly strike on the aid convoy was a “grave mistake” and a result of “misidentification”.

But after studying images of the convoy’s wreckage that showed the roofs – still clearly marked WCK logo – pierced directly, Maj. Chris Lincoln-Jones said the strikes were “absolutely perfectly accurate”.

He told The Times that the Spike missile “is the only missile that I know of in the Israeli army that, in my experience, would cause so little collateral damage.

“It would only kill the people in the car.”

Just before 9.30pm, he believes the Blake Snake squadron remotely piloted a Hermes 450 drone which flew close to the three-car aid convoy.

Minutes later and three quickly-launched Spike “fire-and-forget” missiles had killed seven aid workers.

The anti-tank weapons which carry a high-explosive, turbo-charged HEAT warhead, are designed to kill cleanly with AI-boosted precision.

Lincoln-Jones, who spent five years studying IDF military hardware, noted how the missiles were used to likely hit the driver full-on and cause limited damage outside the car.

Two of the cars were armour-plated SUVs and a third was a “soft skin” saloon – which the Spikes cut through cleanly.

In a statement, WCK said the team were travelling in a “deconflicted zone” with clearly marked vehicles when they were targeted “despite co-coordinating movements with the [Israeli army]”.

WCK added that they had official clearance to be travelling along that road and had been working with the IDF for months.

John Chapman, former SBS hero, was among three Brits killed in an air strike while delivering aid in Gaza

Ex-Royal Marine James Henderson was also killed

The family of ex-sniper James Kirby said they were ‘incredibly proud’ of what he achieved

The seven slain aid workers killed in the disaster

The WCK vehicles were preparing a delivery of 400 tonnes of aid – enough for a million meals for Palestinians forced from their homes – when they were hit.

Lincoln-Jones argued that a Hermes 450 drone would have had a clear image of the charity’s frying pan logos which was emblazoned on the roofs in order to be visible to drones.

And as the route was pre-approved, he explained that the IDF likely knew the names of those onboard.

Witnesses said that the aid workers who survived the strike on the first car ran to the other vehicles to escape but were blown to bits in the follow up strikes.

Their bodies were later identified using their foreign passports.

President Joe Biden condemned the blitz as “outrageous” and PM Rishi Sunak told Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu that the situation in Gaza was “increasingly intolerable”.

On Wednesday, DF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said the strike was a “grave mistake”, and added that the preliminary investigation suggested the convoy was misidentified.

He said: “The strike was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers. 

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification – at night during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened.”

His apology followed Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu‘s confession on Tuesday that Israel was behind the deadly air strike, but he claimed “this happens in war”.

PM Sunak responded by telling Netanyahu he was appalled by the strike and said Israel’s aim of defeating Hamas would not be achieved by allowing a humanitarian disaster.

He added: “We are asking Israel to investigate what happened urgently.

“Clearly there are questions that need to be answered.”

The bodies of all six foreign aid workers killed in the Israeli strike on their aid trucks (one pictured above) have reached Egypt

Their bodies were identified using their passports

IDF chief of Staff produced a grovelling apology, saying the strike was a result of a ‘misidentification’

Heartbreaking tributes have been flooding in for the seven victims of the strike, including the three ex-forces Brit “heroes”, whose bodies were transported out of Gaza yesterday.

Chef José Andres, who founded World Central Kitchen, said that all seven slain aid workers were the “best of humanity”.

Erin Gore, the charity’s CEO, said they were “the heroes of World Central Kitchen”.

She added: “These seven beautiful souls were killed by the IDF in a strike as they were returning from a full day’s mission. 

“Their smiles, laughter, and voices are forever embedded in our memories.”

The ex-Special Force security firm which employed the three British victims also shared: “Words cannot express the depth of sympathy that we feel for the families, friends, colleagues and loved ones of those who died”.

The three Brits killed in the IDF strike

John Chapman

The Special Forces hero, from Poole, had been in Gaza only a few weeks after stints in the Middle East.

The devastated family of dad-of-three John Chapman paid tribute to an “incredible father, husband, son and brother”.

In a statement the family said: “We are devastated to have lost John, who was killed in Gaza.

“He died trying to help people and was subject to an inhumane act…He was loved by many and will forever be a hero. He will be missed dearly”.

James Kirby

Former Corporal James Kirby joined the Light Infantry as a teenager and served as both a regular and reserve in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan in a career spanning almost 20 years.

His devastated family said they are “incredibly proud of who James was and what he achieved”, adding he will be remembered as a “hero”.

They told the BBC: “Despite the risks, his compassionate nature drove him to offer assistance to those in dire need.

“A genuine gentleman, James was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone, even in the face of senseless violence.

“James lost his life trying to save others, he will never know what a void he has left, our family will never be the same.”

James Henderson

The third Brit victim  joined the Royal Marines at 19 and spent six years in the elite commando force before switching to private security.

Pals paid tribute to the “gentle giant”, known as Jim, who was a keen rugby player for Penryn RFC, in Cornwall, since he was a schoolboy.

Following the news of his death on Tuesday, around 40 teammates as well as friends and family met at the clubhouse to toast his memory and the flag at the club was lowered to half mast.

Marek Churcher, the club’s Director of Rugby, said: “He was a really physical lad on the field and a gentle giant off it.”

He continued: “Everybody is totally shocked by what happened, we gathered last night to raise a glass to him… we will miss him a lot.”

“As much as it is a horrible thing, it shows how loved he was and how he brought people together. It’s been a really difficult time for those of us who knew him but he will be remembered for a long time.”


On Wednesday, a top Israeli official blasted the “shoot first, question later” mindset plaguing the IDF in the wake of deaths of the charity workers.

He blamed trigger-happy rogue troops for the disaster after accusing them of “violating” rules of engagement in a war zone.

Speaking to the Times of Israel, the anonymous senior official argued that such a culture was clearly on display in late December when Israeli troops shot dead three Israeli hostages who had escaped captivity and were waving white flags.

His comments followed Israeli defence insiders rubbishing the official claims that the deadly error was a “coordination issue” – instead claiming it was due to “out of control” IDF units inside Gaza.

Sources told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that troops in the Gaza Strip had broken direct orders because “in the Strip, everyone does what they like”.

It comes as pressure is mounting on Brit MPs to suspend arms export licences to Israel in the wake of the strike.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has faced repeated calls to publish internal legal advice from within his ministry about the arms exports.

Former national security adviser Peter Ricketts, now in the House of Lords, said yesterday: “I think the time has come to send that signal.”

The Sun’s Defence Editor’s analysis of the Middle East tinderbox

By Jerome Starkey, The Sun’s Defence Editor

FEARS that the Middle East could explode into all-out war are ratcheting up after Iran vowed vengeance for a deadly Israeli missile strike on its embassy in Damascus, the capital of Syria.

At least 11 people were killed when a consular annex was reduced to rubble by strikes which Iran says were carried out by Israeli F-35 fighter jets.

Now among those 11 killed were two top Iranian generals, Brigadier Mohammed Reza Zahidi, who we understand commanded Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, and Brigadier Mohammed Haji Rahimi.

Also among the dead is a representative of the Hezbollah terrorist group Hussein Yusuf.

Both Iran and Hezbollah have vowed vengeance, with Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi saying this strike will not go unanswered.

The suggestion is that perhaps Israel has crossed a threshold with a strike on an embassy.

Embassies are sovereign soil of the nations they belong to, so this was a strike on sovereign Iranian soil in Syria and in one sense it is an escalation and the concerns that this could spiral out are in many ways well founded.

Interestingly we’ve heard reports in the local media in Syria and in the region that America appears to be distancing itself from this strike, officials saying they had no advanced knowledge.

It would appear that the reason for this missile strike was the meeting between these Revolutionary Guard commanders and the representatives of Hezbollah.

We will now have to wait and see how Iran chooses to take its revenge.

Now of course, if you are an Israeli diplomat living abroad, then you may well think that you are now more of a target.

Because Israel has targeted an Iranian embassy, we may expect to see the possibility that Iran may target Israeli diplomats or missions around the world.

And we have just seen, in the last few days suspected Iranian agents attacking an Iranian journalist here in London.

Tehran is showing, perhaps by this stabbing that it maintains the ability and the capability to attack people it sees as critical of the regime enemies of the regime around the world.

Some context that we understand that Tehran employs criminal proxies to carry out that sort of dirty work doesn’t necessarily have the same sort of sophisticated overseas operations that we might expect of other hostile actors like Russia.

But nonetheless, I think in the wake of what happened in Damascus on Monday, combined with what’s been happening across the region in recent months, there is concern and anxiety to see how Iran responds and what that will elicit from Israel. 

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