Gaza medical officials say Israeli strike kills four foreign aid workers

2 April 2024, 05:44

Israel Palestinians
Israel Palestinians. Picture: PA

Staff showed the passports of three of the dead – British, Australian and Polish.

Gaza medical officials say an apparent Israeli airstrike killed four international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen charity and their Palestinian driver after they helped deliver food and other supplies to northern Gaza.

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

The Israeli military said it was conducting a review “to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”.

World Central Kitchen (WCK), the charity founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres, said it was aware of the reports and would “share more information when we have gathered all the facts”.

“This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER,” WCK spokeswoman Linda Roth said in a statement.

Mr Andres said in a post on X: “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, Turkey, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia. They are not faceless…they are not nameless.

“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.”

The workers’ car was hit by an Israeli strike just after crossing from northern Gaza after helping deliver aid that had arrived hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus, Mahmoud Thabet, a paramedic from the Palestinian Red Crescent who was on the team that brought the bodies to the hospital, told The Associated Press.

The source of fire could not be independently confirmed and the Israeli military did not respond to requests for comment.

The aid ships that arrived on Monday carried some 400 tons of food and supplies in a shipment organised by the United Arab Emirates and the WCK.

Israel Palestinians
An aircraft airdrops humanitarian aid over the northern Gaza Strip (Tsafrir Abayov/AP)

The Israeli military was involved in coordinating both deliveries.

Last month, a ship delivered 200 tons of aid in a pilot run. The Israeli military was involved in coordinating both deliveries.

The US has touted the sea route as a new way to deliver desperately needed aid to northern Gaza, where several hundred Palestinians face imminent famine, 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.

The UNRWA said in its latest report that 173 of its “colleagues” have been killed in Gaza in the violence. The figure does not include workers for other aid organisations.

WCK board member Robert Egger and the media reported that the Australian killed in Monday night’s strike was 44-year-old Zomi Frankcom from Melbourne.

By Press Association

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