Seven aid workers killed in Israeli strike in Gaza: NGOBreaking

April 02, 2024

Food aid organization World Central Kitchen said Tuesday that an Israeli strike killed seven of its workers in the Gaza Strip. “World Central Kitchen is devastated to confirm seven members of our team have been killed in an IDF strike in Gaza,” the US-based charity said in a statement. It added that those killed were “from Australia, Poland, United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada and Palestine.” The aid organization also announced it was “pausing our operations in the region”. Since the October start of the war, World Central Kitchen has been involved in relief efforts, including supplying meals to hunger-stricken Gaza. It is one of two NGOs spearheading efforts to deliver aid to Gaza by boat from Cyprus and was also involved in the construction of a temporary jetty. The NGO said its team was traveling in a “deconflicted” area in a convoy of “two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle” at the time of the strike.

“Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route,” it said. World Central Kitchen “lost several of our sisters and brothers in an IDF air strike in Gaza. I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family,” the group’s founder, chef Jose Andres, wrote on social media platform X. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday confirmed one of the killed aid workers was Australian national Zomi Frankcom. “This is completely unacceptable. Australia expects full accountability for the deaths of aid workers,” Albanese said. Earlier, the Gaza health ministry had said the bodies of four foreign aid workers and their Palestinian driver were brought to the hospital in the central town of Deir el-Balah after an Israeli strike targeted their vehicle.

Hamas said in a statement that the aid workers included “British, Australian and Polish nationalities, with the fourth nationality not known” and that the fifth person killed was a Palestinian driver and translator. US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the White House was “heartbroken and deeply troubled by the strike”. “Humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed, and we urge Israel to swiftly investigate what happened,” she wrote on X. The Israeli military said in a statement that it was “conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”, adding that it had been “working closely with WCK” in the effort to provide aid to Palestinians. UN agencies have warned repeatedly that northern Gaza is on the verge of famine, calling the situation a man-made crisis. The bloodiest-ever Gaza war erupted with Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack, which resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan