Aid organization pauses work in Gaza after 7 killed in airstrike

Gaza, Apr. 02, (dpa/GNA) – Seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) employees were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Monday, the US-based aid organization set up by US-Spanish restaurateur José Andrés said in a statement on Tuesday.

The seven killed are from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the US and Canada, and the Palestinian Territories. They were travelling in a deconflicted zone in two armoured cars branded with the WCK logo, the organization said.

Despite coordinating movements with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the convoy was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in Deir al-Balah, WCK said.

“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 chief executive Erin Gore said.

WCK had immediately paused its operations in the region and a decision about its future would be made soon, 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 IDF.

“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.”

The IDF said in a Telegram post on Monday night it was conducting a review into the 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 military said.