WCK confirms seven aid workers killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza Britain summons Israeli ambassador over death of aid workers in Gaza

World Central Kitchen confirms seven aid workers killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza

GAZA    (  Web News   )

At least seven employees of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) non-governmental organization were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza, the organization said in a statement on Tuesday.

The seven killed from World Central Kitchen are from Australia, Poland, United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the US and Canada and Palestine, it said in a statement.

“World Central Kitchen is devastated to confirm seven members of our team have been killed in an IDF strike in Gaza,” the NGO said.

“The WCK team was traveling in a deconflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle.
Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, 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.”

World Central Kitchen said it would be pausing its operations immediately in the region and will be making decisions about the future of its work soon.

Video obtained by Reuters showed paramedics moving bodies into a hospital and displaying the passports of three of those killed.

The body of a World Central Kitchen (WCK) worker, is transported on a stretcher by paramedics in Deir al-Balah, Gaza April 1, 2024. (Reuters)
The body of a World Central Kitchen (WCK) worker, is transported on a stretcher by paramedics in Deir al-Balah, Gaza .

‘Heartbroken and grieving’

The WCK delivers food relief and prepares meals for people in need. It said last month it had served more than 42 million meals in Gaza over 175 days.

Chef Jose Andres started the WCK in 2010 by sending cooks and food to Haiti after an earthquake. The organisation has since delivered food for communities hit by natural disasters, refugees at the US border, healthcare workers during the COVID pandemic and people in conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

Andres said on X he was heartbroken and grieving for the families and friends of those who died in the airstrike.

“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing. It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives lost. Peace starts with our shared humanity. It needs to start now,” he said.

The WCK’s CEO Erin Gore said the attack was “unforgivable,” adding that it this “is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war.”

In an earlier statement, Hamas said the attack aimed to “terrorize” workers of international humanitarian agencies and deter them from pursuing their missions.

Commenting on the reports, the Israeli military said it was conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of what it called a tragic incident.

“The IDF makes extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, and has been working closely with WCK in their vital efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza,” the military statement said.

Palestinian health officials said a separate Israeli air strike on a house killed six people in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians were sheltering.

Britain on Tuesday summoned the Israeli ambassador over the deaths of aid workers in Gaza, the foreign ministry said.

“I set out the Government’s unequivocal condemnation of the appalling killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers, including three British Nationals,” Britain’s Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, said.

“I requested a quick and transparent investigation, shared with the international community, and full accountability.”

Separately, Foreign Secretary David Cameron posted on X that he had spoken with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz to underline that the deaths were “completely unacceptable.”

“Israel must urgently explain how this happened and make major changes to ensure safety of aid workers on the ground,” Cameron said in the post.