US 'deeply troubled' by Israeli strike killing World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza

'Humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed, and we urge Israel to swiftly investigate what happened,' says White House official

11:50 - 2/04/2024 Tuesday
File Photo
File Photo

The US expressed sorrow on Monday over the killing of aid workers with the US-based aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK) by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

"We are heartbroken and deeply troubled by the strike that killed @WCKitchen aid workers in Gaza," White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said on X.

Her remarks came after five people working for the aid organization, including four foreigners, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on their vehicle in Deir al-Balah city in the central Gaza Strip on Monday.

A director of the Government Media Office in Gaza said Israel struck a foreign team that consists of British, Polish and Australian nationals and another nationality still not identified, in addition to a Palestinian from Gaza.

Photos emerging on Palestinian social media accounts showed the passports of the foreigners who were killed in the airstrike, including from Australia, Poland and the UK, as well as dead bodies with WCK T-shirts.

"Humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed, and we urge Israel to swiftly investigate what happened," Watson added.

The WCK confirmed that its members had been killed in an Israeli army attack while working to support humanitarian food delivery efforts in Gaza, saying: "This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER."

WCK founder Jose Andres said the organization lost "several of our sisters and brothers" in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

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

"The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing. It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives lost. Peace starts with our shared humanity. It needs to start now,” he added.

The Israeli military, meanwhile, said it was conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of the "tragic" incident.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas which killed some 1,200 people.

Over 32,800 Palestinians have since been killed and 75,300 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which on Thursday asked it to do more to prevent famine in Gaza.

#Adrienne Watson
#aid workers
#White House
#World Central Kitchen
18 days ago