World Central Kitchen Pauses Gaza Operations After 7 Workers Killed

The disaster relief nonprofit World Central Kitchen paused operations in Gaza and the region on Tuesday after the organization said seven of its workers were killed in an airstrike.

José Andrés, the organization’s founder, said on X that “several of our sisters and brothers” were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Monday. The group later said in a statement that the team was leaving a warehouse in central Gaza in two armored cars after unloading humanitarian food aid. The group said the convoy was hit despite having coordinated movements with the Israeli military.

The Israeli military said in a statement early Tuesday that, in light of the reports, it was “conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.” The military also said it “makes extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, and has been working closely with W.C.K. in their vital efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”

Erin Gore, the nonprofit’s chief executive officer, said that the group’s employees were killed in “a targeted attack” by the Israeli military, without providing evidence.

“This is unforgivable,” Ms. Gore said.

Graphic video footage that circulated after the strike showed several bodies, some wearing protective gear with World Central Kitchen patches. Footage distributed by Reuters showed a white vehicle marked with the group’s logo on its roof, with a hole half of the width of the car. The nationalities of the seven killed included Australia, Poland, Britain, the United States, Canada and Palestine, according to World Central Kitchen.

World Central Kitchen has become a key organization in the perilous, politically fraught efforts to distribute humanitarian aid to desperate Gazans. Aid organizations say Israel has severely limited the aid that reaches Gaza through land crossings, leaving shipments by sea as an increasingly important means of delivering food to the enclave.

The organization shipped food to Gaza from Cyprus last month, docking at a makeshift jetty in northern Gaza. A second and larger convoy set sail from Cyprus on Saturday. By Tuesday, it remained off the coast of Gaza according to MarineTraffic, a website that tracks global shipping. It was unclear whether the convoy would now dock.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia identified one of the victims as Zomi Frankcom, an Australian citizen and a manager at World Central Kitchen. “We want full accountability for this, because this is a tragedy that should never have occurred,” he told reporters.

“The truth is that this is beyond any reasonable circumstances,” he said, adding that his government had summoned the Israeli ambassador to Australia.

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