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IDF Investigating Death of Aid Workers in Alleged Strike

April 2, 2024

by: JNS

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World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres

Tuesday, 2 April 2024 | The Israel Defense Forces [IDF] is conducting “a thorough review at the highest levels” after seven aid workers were killed in an alleged Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip on Monday night.

World Central Kitchen [WCK: a non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals to those in need] said on Tuesday morning that members of its staff were killed in a strike on their vehicles in Deir al-Balah in the central part of the coastal enclave.

According to the organization, the strike occurred after the aid workers had assisted in delivering food and other supplies to northern Gaza that had arrived hours earlier by ship from Cyprus.

“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. This is unforgivable,” WCK CEO Erin Gore said in a statement.

According to the US charity, founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres and one of the major donors to Gaza relief, those killed included foreign nationals from Australia, Poland and the UK, a dual US-Canadian citizen and local Gazan employees.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday confirmed the death of 44-year-old Australian aid worker Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom.

“This is a human tragedy that should never have occurred, that is completely unacceptable and Australia will seek full and proper accountability,” said Albanese during a press conference.

In a statement released late on Monday, the IDF said, “Following the reports regarding the World Central Kitchen personnel in Gaza today, the IDF is conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this 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 statement continued.

WCK said that the workers were hit “despite coordinating movements with the IDF” and that the staff were “traveling in a de-conflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle.”

White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement early Tuesday that the US was “heartbroken and deeply troubled” by the incident and called for a swift probe.

“Humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed,” Watson said.

The organization said that it was immediately halting its work in Gaza in light of the incident. “Soon we will make decisions about the future of our work,” said WCK.

Israel is facilitating WCK food shipments from Cyprus as part of a pilot program. It was the second shipment of hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid that had set sail from the port of Larnaca in recent weeks.

Posted on April 2, 2024

Source: (This article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 2, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/