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7 people, including 6 international aid workers from World Central Kitchen, were killed by airstrikes in Gaza, officials say

An airstrike killed six international aid workers from the charity World Central Kitchen and their Palestinian driver, the charity said on Tuesday, just hours after it delivered a new shipload of food to the northern Gaza Strip, which is isolated from Israel and on the edge of a Famine brought was insulting.

The group said Israel carried out the attack. This could not be independently confirmed as of Monday evening.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement: “Following the reports of the incident that affected the employees of the WCK organization in the Gaza Strip, the IDF launched an in-depth investigation into the incident by the highest ranks in order to understand all the circumstances.” of the incident. “The IDF is making great efforts to facilitate the safe passage of humanitarian assistance and is working in full cooperation and coordination with the WCK organization to support its efforts to provide food and humanitarian assistance to the residents of the Gaza Strip.”

Graphic photos showed the mutilated, bloody bodies of the aid workers, some still wearing World Central Kitchen T-shirts and their passports, at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah.

Israeli Palestinians
A man shows bloodstained British, Polish and Australian passports after an apparent Israeli airstrike in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, April 1, 2024. Several aid workers from the World Central Kitchen charity and their Palestinian driver were killed in the attack after helping to deliver food and other aid to northern Gaza that had arrived by ship hours early.

Abdel Kareem Hana / AP


The food charity said early Tuesday that the seven killed were citizens of Australia, Poland and the United Kingdom, one was a dual U.S.-Canada citizen and one was a Palestinian.

WCK, a non-profit organization founded by celebrity chef José Andréshas been mailed More than 37 million meals to Palestinians in Gaza since Oct. 7, the group says.

“This is not just an attack against WCK, it is an attack on humanitarian organizations that show up in the worst situations where food is used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” Erin Gore, CEO of World Central Kitchen, said in a statement

In a long social media postAndrés said his organization lost several “brothers and sisters in an IDF airstrike in Gaza” and called on the Israeli government to “stop killing civilians and aid workers and stop using food as a weapon.”

“I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our entire WCK family,” Andrés wrote. “These are people…angels…I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Turkey, Morocco, the Bahamas and Indonesia. They are not faceless…they are not nameless.”

Western employees of an international aid organization were killed in Israel's attack on Gaza
A view of a damaged vehicle carrying aid workers from the World Central Kitchen charity and their Palestinian driver, who were killed in an apparent Israeli-led airstrike in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on April 1, 2024.

Yasser Qudaih/Anadolu via Getty Images


The WCK team was “traveling in two armored vehicles with the WCK logo in a conflict-free zone,” the group said in a statement.

“Although the movements were coordinated with the (Israeli Army), the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse in central Gaza,” the group said, adding that the team unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid got to Gaza by sea.

Three Auxiliary ships from Cyprus The organization arrived early Monday with about 400 tons of food and supplies organized by the charity and the United Arab Emirates. It was the group’s second delivery following a pilot last month. The Israeli military was involved in coordinating both deliveries.

The United States has touted the sea route as a new way to deliver urgently needed aid to northern Gaza, where the United Nations says much of the population is on the brink of starvation and largely cut off from the rest of the territory by Israeli forces. Israel has banned UNRWA, the main U.N. agency in Gaza, from making deliveries to the north, and other aid groups say sending truck convoys north was too dangerous because the military failed to ensure safe passage guarantee.

Western employees of an international aid organization were killed in Israel's attack on Gaza
Residents inspect the damaged vehicle carrying relief workers from the World Central Kitchen charity and their Palestinian driver, who were killed in an apparent Israeli-led airstrike in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on April 1, 2024.

Yasser Qudaih/Anadolu via Getty Images


UNRWA said in its latest report that 173 of its “colleagues” had been killed in the violence in Gaza. The number does not include employees of 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 of Melbourne.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was urgently trying to confirm reports of an Australian death. The ministry said in a statement: “We have made it clear that civilian lives must be protected in this conflict.”

US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on social media: “We are heartbroken and deeply disturbed by the attack that killed people.” [World Central Kitchen] Helpers in Gaza. Humanitarian workers must be protected as they provide urgently needed assistance, and we urge Israel to quickly investigate the incident.”

WCK said The shipments to Gaza were loaded with rice, pasta, flour, legumes, canned vegetables and proteins and contained enough food to prepare more than a million meals. Also on board were dates, which are traditionally eaten to break the daily fast in the holy month of Ramadan.

The United Nations and partners have warned that famine could very soon occur in the devastated, largely isolated northern Gaza Strip. CBS News previously reported According to the United Nations, an estimated 1.7 million people in Gaza have been displaced in the area, with many lacking access to food, water, medicine or suitable shelter.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed since then On October 7, Hamas-led militants stormed southern IsraelAround 1,200 people were killed and around 250 were taken hostage. According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, Israel responded with an air, land and sea offensive that killed nearly 33,000 Palestinians. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its count, but says around two-thirds of those killed were women and children.

-S. Dev, Brian Dakss and Camilla Schick contributed reporting.

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