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War on Gaza: Israeli strike kills British aid worker along with six others

Attack on World Central Kitchen staff comes amid sustained Israeli targeting of aid workers in Gaza
UN staff inspect the carcass of a car used by the US-based aid group World Central Kitchen on 2 April 2024, that was hit by an Israeli air strike in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip (AFP)

An Israeli air strike killed seven aid workers in northern Gaza on Monday, hours after they brought a new shipment of food into the famine-afflicted territory.

Graphic footage showed the mangled, bloodied corpses of the aid workers, some still wearing World Central Kitchen (WCK) t-shirts, with their passports, at al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah.

The WCK, which is currently finishing building a jetty made from the rubble of bombed buildings to ease Gaza's food deprivation, confirmed the attack and said the aid workers were from several countries including the United Kingdom, Poland and Australia.

The aid workers were "traveling in a deconflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle," the disaster relief nonprofit said.

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"Despite coordinating movements with the [Israeli army], the convoy was hit as it was 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," WCK added.

In a lengthy social media post, celebrity chef Jose Andres, the founder of WCK, condemned Israel over the killings and demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government "stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon."

"I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family," Andres wrote. "These are people… angels… I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Turkey, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia. They are not faceless… they are not nameless."

'Stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon'

- Jose Andres, founder of WCK

WCK CEO Erin Gore said: "I am heartbroken and appalled that we – World Central Kitchen and the world – lost beautiful lives today because of a targeted attack by the [Israeli military].

"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," Gore said.

The Gaza-based government media office condemned the attack as "another Israeli massacre."

In a press conference from Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, the general director of the media office Ismail Thawabta said: "The brutal raid targeted armoured vehicles that were clearly marked."

The Israeli military has said it is examining the "tragic incident."

The passports of three of the killed aid workers (Screenshot/X)
The passports of three of the killed aid workers (Screenshot/X)

Since Israel declared war on Gaza after the 7 October attacks, WCK has shipped more than 37 million meals to the embattled territory.

For months, the UN and other humanitarian groups have been warning of an ever-nearing famine in northern Gaza.

In late March, 70 percent of the population was suffering from catastrophic levels of hunger, according to a recent UN-backed report.

Monday's assault comes after a series of attacks on convoys and aid seekers, including the shelling of a United Nations aid truck carrying food supplies in February.

At least 400 Palestinians seeking aid have been killed by Israeli shelling, according to Palestinian health officials.

Additionally, Israeli strikes on aid missions have killed several Palestinian policemen working to secure food deliveries.

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