Airstrike in Gaza: Seven humanitarian workers killed, including international aid staff

An Israeli airstrike in central Gaza on Monday resulted in the deaths of seven individuals associated with celebrity chef Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen (WCK), including citizens from Australia, Britain, and Poland, according to the NGO.

Publication: 02.04.2024 - 12:14
Airstrike in Gaza: Seven humanitarian workers killed, including international aid staff
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The deceased also comprised Palestinians and a dual U.S.-Canada citizen, all of whom were traveling in two armored vehicles marked with the WCK logo and another car when the attack occurred.

Despite coordination with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), the convoy was targeted as it exited its Deir al-Balah warehouse after delivering over 100 tons of food aid to Gaza. "This attack is not just against WCK; it's an assault on humanitarian organizations operating in extreme situations where food is wielded as a weapon of war," stated Erin Gore, WCK's chief executive.

The IDF has announced a comprehensive review to ascertain the details of this incident, emphasizing its commitment to facilitating safe humanitarian aid delivery in cooperation with WCK.

Chef Andres, who established WCK in 2010 following an earthquake in Haiti, expressed devastation over the loss and called for an end to the "indiscriminate killing" and restrictions on humanitarian aid by the Israeli government. He advocated for the cessation of civilian and aid worker casualties and emphasized the urgent need for peace founded on shared humanity.

Hamas labeled the strike as an intimidation tactic against international humanitarian agency workers to thwart their missions.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed the death of Australian aid worker Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom, aged 44, and has demanded accountability from Israel. He stressed the importance of protecting civilians and humanitarian workers and reiterated the call for a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza.

The U.S. National Security Council also expressed sorrow over the incident, underscoring the imperative to protect humanitarian aid workers and urged Israel to conduct a swift investigation.

WCK, known for delivering food relief and meals to those in need, announced a temporary halt to its operations in the region, pending future decisions regarding its mission. The organization, which has provided over 42 million meals in Gaza and aid in various global crises, recently facilitated the first aid shipment to Gaza from Cyprus.

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