Aid group suspends operations in Gaza after worker deaths

Aid group suspends operations in Gaza after worker deaths
Aid group suspends operations in Gaza after worker deaths

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Aid group suspends operations in Gaza after worker deaths in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - GAZA — International food charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) is suspending its operations in Gaza following the death of seven of its workers in an Israeli air strike.

The charity said those killed were part of an aid convoy that was leaving a warehouse in central Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it was conducting a "thorough review" into the incident.

Gaza's Hamas-run media office also blamed Israel.

WCK is one of the main suppliers of desperately needed aid to Gaza.

According to the charity, the aid convoy was hit while 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."

The charity said it had coordinated the convoy's movements with the IDF when it was hit.

A Palestinian medical source told the BBC the workers had been wearing bullet-proof vests bearing the WCK logo.

The IDF on Tuesday said it was conducting a thorough review at the highest level to understand the circumstances of the "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," it added.

According to WCK, the workers who died were Australian, Polish, British, Palestinian and a dual US-Canadian citizen.

"I am heartbroken and appalled that we — World Central Kitchen and the world — lost beautiful lives today because of a targeted attack by the IDF," the charity's CEO Erin Gore said in a statement.

"The love they had for feeding people, the determination they embodied to show that humanity rises above all, and the impact they made in countless lives will forever be remembered and cherished".

According to Cogat, the Israeli defence ministry body in charge of co-ordinating aid deliveries to Gaza, the charity is responsible for 60% of the non-governmental aid getting into Gaza.

WCK said in a recent statement that it had served more than 42 million meals to people in Gaza since October and had been ready to provide more than one million more.

The charity recently made headlines for providing hundreds of tonnes of food for Gazans that was transported on the first aid ship in March.

Aid agencies have taken to delivering aid by sea in order to increase the amount getting into the territory, which the UN says is on the brink of famine.

World Central Kitchen was set up by Andres and his wife Patricia in 2010, initially to provide food for survivors of a major earthquake in Haiti.

In a post on social media about the deaths of his staff, Andrés called on the Israeli government "to stop this indiscriminate killing".

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed that aid worker Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom was among those killed and has offered his condolences to family and friends.

In a statement, he said: "This is someone who was volunteering overseas to provide aid through this charity for people who are suffering tremendous deprivation in Gaza. And this is just completely unacceptable."

He said Australia expected "full accountability", adding that it was a "tragedy that should never have occurred".

Wojciech Bakun, the mayor of the Polish city of Przemysl, said that Damian Soból, who was from the area, was also among those killed.

Bakun described Soból as a "fantastic boy", adding that no words can describe the feelings of those who knew him.

The Polish foreign ministry said it had received reports of the incident and was seeking urgent official confirmation from the Israeli government about the victim's identity.

Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, said on X: "We are heartbroken and deeply troubled by the strike that killed [WCK] aid workers in Gaza.

"Humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed, and we urge Israel to swiftly investigate what happened."

Prior to confirmation that an Australian national had been killed in the incident, the Australian foreign ministry said: "We have been very clear that we expect humanitarian workers in Gaza to have safe and unimpeded access to do their lifesaving work".

The UK Foreign Office and Polish foreign ministry have been contacted for comment.

Much of the Gaza Strip has been devastated during the Israeli military operations that began after Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israel on 7 October, killing about 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages.

About 130 of the hostages remain in captivity, at least 34 of whom are presumed dead.

More than 32,8450 people have been killed in Gaza since then, the Hamas-run health ministry says. — BBC

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