5 people, including 4 international World Central Kitchen aid workers, killed by airstrike in Gaza, officials say

An airstrike killed four international aid workers and their Palestinian driver in Gaza on Monday, officials in the Palestinian territory said.

The aid workers were members of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by celebrity chef José Andrés that, according to the organization, has shipped more than 37 million meals to Palestinians in Gaza since Oct. 7. The aid workers were driving from Deir al-Balah to Rafah when their convoy was hit.

One worker was British, one was Polish and one was Australian, Gaza’s media office spokesperson said at a news conference. The fourth worker’s nationality was unknown as of Monday evening.

Graphic photographs showed the mangled, bloodied corpses of the aid workers, some still wearing World Central Kitchen t-shirts, with their passports.

A Palestinian Red Crescent paramedic who helped bring the bodies to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital told The Associated Press the workers were in a three-car convoy crossing out of northern Gaza when an Israeli missile hit.

“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 Israel Defense Forces said in a statement, adding that it had been working closely with World Central Kitchen “in their vital efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”

People stand with food aid provided by World Central Kitchen at a location given as Gaza
People stand with food aid provided by World Central Kitchen at a location given as Gaza, in this picture released on March 19, 2024, and obtained from social media.

World Central Kitchen via Reuters

World Central Kitchen said it was aware of reports of the attack. “This is a tragedy,” World Central Kitchen wrote on social media. “Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER.”

In a lengthy social media post, Andrés said his organization had lost several “brothers and sisters in an IDF air strike in Gaza,” and called on the Israeli government to “stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon.”

“I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family,” Andrés wrote. “These are people…angels…I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Turkey, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia. They are not faceless…they are not nameless.”

The strike occurred two days after a three-ship convoy left a port in Cyprus with 400 tons of food and other supplies for Gaza amid concerns about an imminent famine in the territory. The U.S. has said it hopes the maritime route from Cyprus could provide an alternative lifeline for northern Gaza.

World Central Kitchen said the shipments bound for Gaza were loaded with rice, pasta, flour, legumes, canned vegetables and proteins, and contained enough food to prepare more than 1 million meals. Also on board were dates, which are traditionally eaten to break the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

The United Nations and partners have warned that famine could occur very soon in devastated, largely isolated northern Gaza. CBS News previously reported that an estimated 1.7 million people in Gaza have been displaced in the territory, according to the U.N., with many having no access to food, water, medicine or appropriate shelter.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed since Oct. 7, when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage. Israel responded with an air, land and sea offensive that has killed nearly 33,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. The ministry doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants in its count, but it says women and children make up around two-thirds of those killed.

—Camilla Schick and The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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