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Gaza officials: Israeli strike kills World Central Kitchen aid workers

The passports of three of the dead showed: British, Australian and Polish. The nationality of the fourth aid worker was not immediately known.
Palestinians walk through the destruction left by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 01, 2024

Gaza medical officials say an apparent Israeli airstrike killed four international aid workers with theWorld Central Kitchen charity and their Palestinian driver after they helped deliver food and other supplies to northern Gaza that had arrived hours early by ship.

Footage showed the bodies of the five dead at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah. Several of them wore protective gear with the charity's logo. Staff showed the passports of three of the dead — British, Australian and Polish. The nationality of the fourth aid worker was not immediately known.

The workers' car was hit by an Israeli strike just after crossing from northern Gaza after helping deliver aid that had arrived hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus, Mahmoud Thabet, a paramedic from the Palestinian Red Crescent who was on the team that brought the bodies to the hospital, told The Associated Press. The source of fire could not be independently confirmed and the Israeli military did not respond to requests for comment.

The aid ships that arrived Monday carried some 400 tons of food and supplies in a shipment organized by the United Arab Emirates and the World Central Kitchen, the charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés. Last month a ship delivered 200 tons of aid in a pilot run. The Israeli military was involved in coordinating both deliveries.

The U.S. has touted the sea route as a new way to deliver desperately needed aid to northern Gaza, where several hundred Palestinians face imminent famine, largely cut off from the rest of the territory by Israeli forces. Israel has barred UNRWA, the main U.N. agency in Gaza, from making deliveries to the north, and other aid groups say sending truck convoys north has been too dangerous because of the military's failure to ensure safe passage.

In a statement posted to X, World Central Kitchen founder Chef José Andrés confirmed the deaths of the workers. 

"The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing," Andrés wrote. "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."

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More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the conflict, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.