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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsAid Group Halts Operations in Gaza After Israeli Strike Kills 7 Staff

Aid Group Halts Operations in Gaza After Israeli Strike Kills 7 Staff

Aid Charity Gaza
World Central Kitchen sent hundreds of tonnes of aid from Cyprus to Gaza. Credit: Cyprus News Agency

International aid charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) is suspending its operations in Gaza following the death of seven of its workers in an Israeli air strike.

The charity said those killed were part of an aid convoy that was leaving a warehouse in central Gaza on Monday. According to WCK, the workers who died were Australian, Polish, British, Palestinian and a dual US-Canadian citizen.

Some 240 tonnes of aid to Gaza are set to turn around without completing their delivery, Cyprus’s foreign ministry has said. WCK, which has been on the ground for months and which had just brought in a second 400-tone shipment of aid by sea from Cyprus, is playing an increasingly prominent and important role in preventing Gaza from sliding into famine.

“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 charity’s chief executive Erin Gore said in a statement.

“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.”

Charity is one of the main suppliers of desperately needed aid to Gaza

It said that it would “be making decisions about the future of [its] work soon”.

According to the charity, the aid convoy was hit while 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.”

The convoy was made up of three vehicles, including two that were armored. The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it had recovered all seven bodies from the scene of the incident following a “challenging operation spanning several hours”.

The humanitarian group added that the bodies had been taken to the Abu Yousef al-Najjar hospital in southern Gaza in preparation for their evacuation through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt.

Israel admits “unintentionally hitting innocent people”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged that Israel’s forces hit “innocent people”. Netanyahu released a video message on Tuesday in which he said Israeli forces were behind the attack.

“Unfortunately, in the last 24 hours there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

“It happens in war, we check it to the end, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again.”

The IDF had earlier said it was conducting a thorough review at the highest level to understand the circumstances of the “tragic incident”.

“We will get to the bottom of this and we will share our findings transparently,” IDF spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari vowed.

“The work of WCK is critical; they are on the frontlines of humanity.”

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