Israeli airstrike in Gaza kills seven working for food aid NGO

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — An Israeli airstrike in central Gaza on Monday killed seven people, including citizens from Australia, Britain, Poland, and a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, who were working for the food aid organization founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK), the NGO announced.

The victims, who also included Palestinians, were traveling in two armored vehicles marked with the WCK logo, along with another vehicle, when their convoy was struck. The attack occurred as they left their Deir al-Balah warehouse after delivering more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid to Gaza by sea, according to a WCK statement.

Erin Gore, Chief Executive of World Central Kitchen, condemned the attack.

“This is not only an attack against WCK; this is an attack on humanitarian organizations providing crucial support in dire situations where food is being weaponized,” Gore stated. “This is unforgivable.”

The Israeli military has initiated a comprehensive review to understand the circumstances of the incident, describing it as tragic. “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 military conveyed.

Andrés, who founded WCK in 2010 to support Haiti after an earthquake, expressed his sorrow on social media. “I am heartbroken and grieving for the families and friends of those who died,” he said. “The Israeli government must stop this indiscriminate killing, end the restriction on humanitarian aid, cease the killing of civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives lost. Peace starts with our shared humanity. It must start now.”

Hamas, in a statement, described the airstrike as an attempt to terrorize workers from international humanitarian agencies and deter them from their missions.