Israel-Hamas conflict: Israeli attack kills 7 NGO workers in Gaza: the most dangerous place in the world for humanitarian workers

Israel-Hamas conflict: Israeli attack kills 7 NGO workers in Gaza: the most dangerous place in the world for humanitarian workers
Israel-Hamas conflict: Israeli attack kills 7 NGO workers in Gaza: the most dangerous place in the world for humanitarian workers
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Credit, Reuters

Photo caption,

World Central Kitchen employees were on a humanitarian aid convoy that was attacked

Article information
  • author, David Gritten and Yolande Knell
  • Roll, BBC News
  • April 2, 2024

Seven employees of the NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed on Monday (1/4) in an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip — they were distributing food in the Palestinian territory, playing a key role in containing the imminent wave of famine in the Palestinian territory. region.

Israel admitted this Tuesday the “unintentional” attack, saying that its forces hit “innocent people”.

Unfortunately, however, these are not the first aid workers killed during the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which began almost six months ago.

“Nowhere else have so many humanitarian workers been killed. There needs to be an immediate ceasefire. Enough is enough now,” wrote Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council and former UN humanitarian affairs chief, following Monday’s deadly airstrike.

Before the incident, at least 196 aid workers had been killed in the Palestinian territories since the start of the war, according to a count by the Aid Worker Safety Database (AWSD), which records large incidents of violence against humanitarian aid teams.

Last year — when 161 aid workers were killed — was the deadliest on record, according to AWSD.

Most of those killed during the war worked for the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), which runs the largest humanitarian aid operation in Gaza.

UNRWA said in a report on Monday that 173 of its employees had been killed, including while carrying out their duty. It added that 353 “incidents affecting UNRWA facilities, and the people within them” were recorded during the war, including “at least 52 incidents of military use of and/or interference with UNRWA facilities.”

‘Unintentional’ attack

Palestinians stand next to the vehicle in which World Central Kitchen (WCK) employees were killed

Credit, Reuters

Photo caption,

Palestinians next to one of the hit vehicles

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted this Tuesday (2/4) that an “unintentional” Israeli attack killed “innocent people” in Gaza.

The statement was made the day after the deaths of seven aid workers from the NGO World Central Kitchen.

In a videotaped message, he said: “Unfortunately, in the last 24 hours there has been a tragic case in which our forces unintentionally targeted innocent people in the Gaza Strip.”

“This happens in war, we check it until the end, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything to ensure that this does not happen again,” he added.

US-based World Central Kitchen said the dead employees — of Australian, Polish, British and Palestinian origins, as well as a dual American and Canadian citizen — were on a humanitarian aid convoy that was hit.

The NGO claims to have coordinated the movement with Israeli forces, but the convoy was attacked after leaving a warehouse in Deir al-Balah, “where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid sent to Gaza via the sea route.”

Still according to the NGO, the humanitarian workers were in a “conflict-free zone, in two armored cars with the WCK logo” and in a normal vehicle.

NGOs suspend operation in Gaza

World Central Kitchen, founded in 2010 by Michelin-starred chef José Andrés, announced it is suspending its operations in Gaza following the deaths of employees.

And he added that he would “make decisions about the future of [seu] work soon.”

The NGO, which aims to provide meals in the wake of humanitarian crises and national disasters, claims to have served 42 million meals in 175 days in Gaza — which equates to around 240,000 per day.

Last month, World Central Kitchen was part of the first maritime mission to send humanitarian aid to Gaza – in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates.

“This is not just an attack on WCK, it is an attack on humanitarian organizations that are in the most dire situations where food is used as a weapon of war. This is inexcusable,” said Erin Gore, CEO of World Central Kitchen.

American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera), another US-based NGO that plays a key role in providing food to Palestinians, also said it is suspending its operations in Gaza.

Anera had been working in partnership with World Central Kitchen in recent months.

“Anera and WCK are disrupting operations in Gaza. Together, Anera and WCK provide around 2 million meals a week in Gaza,” Sean Carroll, CEO of Anera, told the BBC.

“Our broken hearts are with our friends at World Central Kitchen today and every day,” he wrote earlier on X (formerly Twitter).

Asked about the impact that the decision to suspend food supplies would have on the inhabitants of Gaza — who, according to the UN, are on the brink of a wave of man-made famine —, Caroll said:

“The occupying force has an obligation, under international law, to support the population under occupation.”

At the time, Israel rejected both the report’s famine warning and the UN court’s court order, saying accusations that it is blocking the entry of humanitarian aid are “totally unfounded.” And he accused Hamas of stealing the donations.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: IsraelHamas conflict Israeli attack kills NGO workers Gaza dangerous place world humanitarian workers

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