'Unforgivable': 7 Die Delivering Food Aid in Gaza

World Central Kitchen halts its Gaza operations as a result
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 2, 2024 5:26 AM CDT
'Unforgivable': 7 Die Delivering Food Aid in Gaza
People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, April 2, 2024. World Central Kitchen, an aid group, says an Israeli strike that hit its workers in Gaza killed at least seven people, including several foreigners.   (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

An apparent Israeli airstrike killed six international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen and their Palestinian driver, the charity said Tuesday, in a potentially major setback to efforts to deliver aid by sea to Gaza, where Israel's offensive against Hamas has pushed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to the brink of starvation. The food charity, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, said it was immediately suspending operations in the region, per the AP. The source of fire late Monday could not be independently confirmed. The Israeli military expressed "sincere sorrow" over the deaths while stopping short of accepting responsibility.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the top military spokesman, says an independent investigation will be launched that "will help us reduce the risk of such an event from occurring again." Footage showed the bodies, several wearing protective gear with the charity's logo, at a hospital in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah. Those killed include three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national, and an American-Canadian dual citizen, according to hospital records. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed Zomi Frankcom, 44, of Melbourne, was among those killed and said his government has requested an explanation from Israel. "This is just completely unacceptable," Albanese told reporters.

The charity said the team was traveling in a three-car convoy that included two armored vehicles. "Despite coordinating movements with the (Israeli army), 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." Erin Gore, the CEO of the charity, said it was "an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable." 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. (More Gaza stories.)

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