UN suspends night operations in Gaza after Israeli strikes on aid workersBreaking

April 04, 2024

UN humanitarian officials in Gaza have suspended operations at night for at least 48 hours in response to the killing of seven aid workers from the NGO ‘World Central Kitchen’ by an Israeli strike. The move will allow for further evaluation of the security issues that impact both personnel on the ground and the people they are trying to serve, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said on Wednesday during the noon briefing for reporters in New York. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reports that daytime operations are continuing, including ongoing efforts to get food aid convoys into northern Gaza. World Central Kitchen and other charities have suspended aid operations which has had a “double impact” in the Gaza Strip, Mr. Dujarric said in response to a reporter’s question. “It has a real impact on people who depend on these organisations to receive aid,” he said. “But?it also has a psychological and chilling effect on humanitarian workers, both Palestinians and international, who continue to do their utmost to deliver aid to those who need it at great personal risk.”

The World Central Kitchen staff, consisting of local and international personnel, were killed in multiple Israeli airstrikes on their convoy while departing their warehouse in Deir al Balah in central Gaza. The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said he was horrified by the killing of the seven humanitarian workers, noting that their cars were clearly marked and should never have been attacked. “This horrific incident highlights the extreme danger under which WHO colleagues and our partners are working – and will continue to work,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking in Geneva. WHO has been working with World Central Kitchen to deliver food to health workers and patients in Gaza hospitals. Tedros underlined the need for safe humanitarian access through establishment of “an effective and transparent mechanism for deconfliction”. He also called for “more entry points, including in northern Gaza, cleared roads, and predictable and expedited passage through checkpoints.”

Meanwhile, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, is working with the Palestine Red Crescent Society to assist in the repatriation of the remains of the international staff from World Central Kitchen. “According to the Israeli military, an initial investigation found that the strike was a ‘grave mistake’ due to a misidentification,” OCHA said in its latest update, issued on Wednesday. Israeli authorities said that a new humanitarian command centre will be established to improve the coordination of aid distribution, while a full independent investigation will be completed over the coming days. The findings will be shared with World Central Kitchen and other relevant international organizations. WHO again requested authorization to travel to the destroyed Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City in the wake of the end of the two-week Israeli military siege.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan