Israel targets Gaza aid group, killing multiple foreign staffers

Bodies of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organisation World Central Kitchen (WCK) are seen after an Israeli attack on a vehicle belonging to WCK in Deir al-Balah. (Photo/AA)

Israel has killed at least four international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen [WCK] charity and their Palestinian driver, hours after the group brought in a new shipload of food to feed Palestinians pushed to the brink of starvation by Israel's brutal war.

Footage showed the bodies of the five dead at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza town of Deir al Balah on Monday.

Several of them wore protective gear with the charity's logo.

Staff showed the passports of three of the dead – British, Australian and Polish. The nationality of the fourth aid worker was not immediately known.

As usual, the Israeli military said it was conducting a review "to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident."

"Today @WCKitchen lost several of our sisters and brothers in an IDF air strike in Gaza. I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family. These are people…angels…I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Türkiye, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia. They are not faceless…they are not nameless," said Chef Jose Andres, founder of WCK.

"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.

Mahmoud Thabet, a Palestinian Red Crescent paramedic who was on the team that brought the bodies to the hospital, told The Associated Press the workers were in a three-car convoy that was crossing out of northern Gaza when an Israeli missile hit.

Thabet said he was told by WCK staff the team had been in the north coordinating the distribution of the newly arrived aid and were heading back to Rafah in the south.

Three aid ships arrived earlier on Monday carrying some 400 tonnes of food and supplies organised by the charity and the United Arab Emirates — the group's second shipment after a pilot run last month.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was "urgently seeking to confirm reports that an Australian aid worker has died in Gaza. These reports are very distressing."

The White House said it was "heartbroken" and urged Israel to investigate itself.

"We are heartbroken and deeply troubled by the strike," National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson wrote on social media platform X, adding that "humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed, and we urge Israel to swiftly investigate what happened."

Passports of the officials working at the US-based international volunteer aid organisation World Central Kitchen (WCK), who are killed, are seen after an Israeli attack on a vehicle belonging to WCK in Deir Al-Balah. (Photo/AA)

The US has touted the sea route as a new way to deliver desperately needed aid to northern Gaza, where the UN has said much of the population is on the brink of starvation, largely cut off from the rest of the territory by Israeli forces.

Israel has barred UNRWA, the main UN agency in Gaza, from making deliveries to the north, and other aid groups say sending truck convoys north has been too dangerous because of the military's failure to ensure safe passage.

Israel's war crimes

The strike came hours after Israeli troops ended a two-week raid on al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest, leaving the facility largely gutted and a swath of destruction in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Footage showed al-Shifa's main buildings had been reduced to burned-out husks. Palestinians were coming to the site after the troops withdrew found bodies of civilians.

Israel has killed over 32,800 Palestinians and wounded 75,300 others in its brutal war on the blockaded enclave amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on besieged Gaza, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 percent of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 percent of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which last Thursday asked Israel to do more to prevent famine in Gaza.


Source: TRT