Foreign aid workers killed after food delivery in Israeli strike on Gaza, NGO decries attack

Six foreign aid workers, who were heading back after completing food delivery, were killed in an Israeli strike in central Gaza, as per the health officials present in the occupied territory.

The deaths of the aid workers were reported by the Hamas-run Gaza government media office late on Monday (April 1). 

The Hamas-run territory’s health ministry said that the dead bodies of the aid workers and their Palestinian driver were brought to a hospital in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza.

The aid group, World Central Kitchen, claimed that their six international aid workers along with their Palestinian driver were killed in the attack.

In a statement, the Israeli military said that it was “conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”, and added that it had been “working closely with WCK” in the efforts to give aid to Palestinians.

The aid workers were working for World Central Kitchen and were travelling in a convoy which was hit by a strike south of Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, as per local officials.

Earlier in a statement, Hamas said that the aid workers included “British, Australian and Polish nationalities, with the fourth nationality not known”, and that the fifth person who died was a Palestinian driver and translator. 

World Central Kitchen decries attack on aid workers, calls it a ‘tragedy’

In a statement, World Central Kitchen said, “We are aware of reports that members of the World Central Kitchen team have been killed in an IDF attack while working to support our humanitarian food delivery efforts in Gaza. This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should never be a target.”

The World Central Kitchen organisation also announced that they are immediately suspending their work in the Gaza Strip. “World Central Kitchen is pausing our operations immediately in the region. We will be making decisions about the future of our work soon,” said CEO Erin Gore.

Meanwhile, Israel Defence Forces spokesperson Avichay Adraee, in a statement said that they are investigating the incident.

“Following the reports regarding the World Central Kitchen personnel in Gaza today, the IDF is conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident. The IDF makes extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, and has been working closely with WCK in their vital efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza,” the statement read.

Watch: Israel-Hamas war: Thousands demand Netanyahu government’s resignation

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is “urgently” looking into the reports an Australian had been killed.

“I’m very concerned about the loss of life that is occurring in Gaza. My government has supported a sustainable ceasefire,” he said while speaking to ABC Radio on Tuesday (April 2).

“We’ve called for the release of hostages and there have been far too many innocent lives, Palestinian and Israeli, lost during the Gaza-Hamas conflict,” he added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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