Israel airstrike on Gaza kills foreigners working for food aid NGO

April 2, 2024 5:30 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Citizens from Australia, Britain and Poland were among at least five people working for celebrity chef Jose Andres’ NGO, World Central Kitchen, who were killed in an Israeli airstrike in central Gaza on Monday, a Gaza government media official said.

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

The Hamas-run Gaza government said at least one Palestinian was also killed in strike in the city of Deir al-Balah.

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Andres, who started WCK in 2010 by sending cooks and food to Haiti after an earthquake, said he was heartbroken and grieving for the families and friends of those who died in the attack.

In a statement, the Islamist group Hamas said the attack aimed to terrorise workers of international humanitarian agencies and deter them from pursuing their missions.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed the death of 44-year-old Australian aid worker Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom and said his government had contacted Israel to demand those responsible be held accountable.

Albanese said innocent civilians and those doing humanitarian work needed to be protected and reiterated his call for a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza along with more aid to help those suffering from “tremendous deprivation.”

Video obtained by Reuters showed paramedics moving bodies into a hospital and displaying the passports of three of those killed.

The WCK delivers food relief and prepares meals for people in need. It said last month it had served more than 42 million meals in Gaza over 175 days.

In a video released by WCK, Frankcom is seen at what it said was the organisation’s Deir Al-Balah kitchen, with a chef showcasing prepared ingredients

Since starting operations in 2010, the organisation has delivered food for communities hit by natural disasters, refugees at the U.S. border, healthcare workers during the COVID pandemic and people in conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

Palestinian health officials said a separate Israeli air strike on a house killed six people in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians were sheltering.