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Photo Credit: Ahmed Zakot/Reuters

World Central Kitchen pauses operations in Gaza after strike kills 7 volunteers

World Central Kitchen (WCK), a disaster relief nonprofit founded by the Michelin-starred chef José Andrés, has suspended its operations in Gaza after seven of its workers were killed by an Israeli Defense Force strike. “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,” World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore said in a statement early Tuesday morning.

“Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route,” the statement said. Andrés’ group said the seven killed were from Australia, Poland, the U.K. and Palestine. One was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that three British nationals were among those killed. Australian officials and the Australian Foreign Ministry condemned the strike and said “We expect full accountability for these deaths.”

The NGO had coordinated their movements with the Israeli Defense Force and they were traveling in two armored cars with the WCK logo visible. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said IDF forces “unintentionally hit innocent people” and that he would fully investigate the “tragic incident.”

Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, said in a post on X that “Humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed, and we urge Israel to swiftly investigate what happened.”

“Unfortunately, in the last day, there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said, “It happens in war, we check it to the end. We are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again.”

WCK has provided more than 33 million meals since the start of the conflict. It operates over 60 community kitchens in Gaza with the help of about 400 Palestinians on the ground.

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