Home World News Israeli strike kills seven World Central Kitchen aid group workers in Gaza, including foreigners

Israeli strike kills seven World Central Kitchen aid group workers in Gaza, including foreigners

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Israeli strike kills seven World Central Kitchen aid group workers in Gaza, including foreigners

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A man displays blood-stained British, Polish, and Australian passports after an Israeli airstrike, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on April 1, 2024. Gaza medical officials say an apparent Israeli airstrike killed four international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen charity and their Palestinian driver after they helped deliver food and other supplies to northern Gaza that had arrived hours early by ship.
| Photo Credit: AP

An apparent Israeli airstrike killed six international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen charity and their Palestinian driver, the aid group said on April 2, hours after it brought a new shipload of food into northern Gaza, which has been isolated and pushed to the brink of famine by Israel’s offensive.

Footage showed the bodies of the dead at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah. Several of them wore protective gear with the charity’s logo.

Also read | The politics of humanitarian aid

The food charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés said early Tuesday that the seven killed include citizens of Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom and a U.S.-Canada dual citizen.

“This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER,” WCK spokeswoman Linda Roth said in a statement.

The source of fire late Monday could not be independently confirmed. The Israeli military said it was conducting a review “to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.”

“Despite coordinating movements with the (Israeli army), the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse,” in central Gaza, the group said in a statement. It said the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.

Three aid ships from Cyprus arrived earlier Monday carrying some 400 tons of food and supplies organized by the charity and the United Arab Emirates, the group’s second shipment after a pilot run last month. The Israeli military was involved in coordinating both deliveries.

The U.S. has touted the sea route as a new way to deliver desperately needed aid to northern Gaza, where the U.N. has said much of the population is on the brink of starvation, largely cut off from the rest of the territory by Israeli forces. Israel has barred UNRWA, the main U.N. agency in Gaza, from making deliveries to the north, and other aid groups say sending truck convoys north has been too dangerous because of the military’s failure to ensure safe passage.

The UNRWA said in its latest report that 173 of its “colleagues” have been killed in Gaza in the violence. The figure does not include workers for other aid organizations.

World Central Kitchen board member Robert Egger and the media reported that the Australian killed in Monday night’s strike was 44-year-old Zomi Frankcom from Melbourne.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was urgently seeking to confirm reports of an Australian death. The department said in a statement: “We have been clear on the need for civilian lives to be protected in this conflict.”

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