UN suspends aid movements in Gaza at night after charity worker deaths

3 April 2024, 23:30

The UN temporarily suspends night-time aid operations in Gaza
The UN temporarily suspends night-time aid operations in Gaza. Picture: Getty

By Flaminia Luck

The United Nations has suspended aid movements after dark in Gaza for at least 48 hours following the killings of seven foreign aid workers.

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Three of the workers - who have been named as John Chapman, James Kirby, James Henderson - were from the UK and were delivering food parcles for the charity, World Central Kitchen.

The deaths have sparked outcry and outrage, including condemnation from world leaders.

On Wednesday, a UN spokesperson said temporary suspension will allow for further evaluation of the security issues that impact both personnel on the ground and the people they are trying to serve.

Three British nationals killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza
Three British nationals were killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza. Picture: World Central Kitchen

The spokesperson added the UN World Food Programme reports daytime operations are continuing, including ongoing efforts to get food aid convoys into northern Gaza.

World Central Kitchen and other charities have suspended aid operations which has had a “double impact” in the Gaza Strip.

“It has a real impact on people who depend on these organisations to receive aid,” he said.  

“But it also has a psychological and chilling effect on humanitarian workers, both Palestinians and international, who continue to do their utmost to deliver aid to those who need it at great personal risk.

” The World Central Kitchen staff, consisting of local and international personnel, were killed in multiple Israeli airstrikes on their convoy while departing their warehouse in Deir al Balah in central Gaza." spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said.

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'Extreme danger'

The head of the World Health Organization said he was horrified by the killing of the seven humanitarian workers, noting that their cars were clearly marked and should never have been attacked. 

“This horrific incident highlights the extreme danger under which WHO colleagues and our partners are working – and will continue to work,” said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking in Geneva. 

WHO has been working with World Central Kitchen to deliver food to health workers and patients in Gaza hospitals.

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The other aid workers killed were a Polish national, an Australian, a Palestinian and a dual US-Canadian citizen.

Rishi Sunak has called the deaths "appalling" and called on Benjamin Netanyahu to "immeadiately investigate" them.

However, the PM went on to defend the UK's 'careful export licensing regime' amid calls for the UK to cease all arms sales to Israel.

The Israel Defence Forces has "expressed the deepest condolences" to the families of the aid workers, and said it was "reviewing the incident at the highest levels".