Seven Aid Workers Killed in Israeli Airstrike in Gaza

Seven aid workers serving on behalf of World Central Kitchen were among those killed on Monday in an Israeli airstrike that hit Gaza.

According to officials with the non-governmental organization, the workers were killed while they were leaving the central Gaza warehouse in Deir al-Balah. They were driving in what is known as a “deconflicted zone,” in two separate armored cars, when the strike happened.

The United Nations said that the organization, which was founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres, has been working in Gaza, where more than 1 million people are dealing with “catastrophic hunger.”

The workers were had already delivered more than 100 tons of food and aid to that warehouse right before the airstrike. Officials with the organization said they had coordinated their movements with the Israeli military in the past.

The seven workers who were killed came from Palestine, the United Kingdom, Poland and Australia. One was a dual citizen of Canada and the United States.

In a statement released this week, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, said:

“Unfortunately over the last day there was a tragic incident of an unintended strike of our forces on innocent people in the Gaza Strip.”

Officials are “checking this thoroughly,” he said, and “will do everything for this not to happen again.”

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, who serves as a spokesperson for Israel’s military, released a video message Tuesday saying that an investigation has begun to examine what happened in the incident. He said:

“We have been reviewing the incident in the highest levels to understand the circumstances of what happened and how it happened. The world of WCK is critical. They are the frontlines of humanity. We will get to the bottom of this, and we will share our findings transparency.”

For his part, Andres said he was “heartbroken” after receiving news of the workers’ deaths, further calling on Israel to stop its “indiscriminate killing.”

On the social media platform X, he wrote:

“I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family. They are not faceless … they are not nameless. 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.”

As a result of the strike, WCK announced that it would pause all operations immediately in that region and will “be making decisions about the future of our work soon.”

World Central Kitchen operates in countries that are dealing with natural disasters and wars, helping to deliver food and other aid to those in need.

In a statement, the organization’s CEO, Erin Gore, said:

“This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable.”