July 23, 2024

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What we know about the raid that killed World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza

What we know about the raid that killed World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza

Seven aid workers were killed at World Central Kitchen in the Gaza Strip when their convoy came under fire Monday night, according to the relief organization and health officials in Gaza.

The disaster relief organization, founded by Spanish chef José Andres, said the convoy was hit in an Israeli raid. In a statement following the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to “the tragic case in which our forces unintentionally struck innocent people.” He said that Israel is in contact with foreign governments regarding the incident.

Here's what we know.

World Central Kitchen employees were leaving a warehouse in Deir al-Balah, a city located in the central Gaza Strip, when their convoy, consisting of two armored cars and a third vehicle, came under fire late Monday, the organization said in a statement.

The charity said the Israeli army had been informed of the movements of aid workers. Aid workers had just unloaded more than 100 tons of food brought into Gaza by sea into the warehouse.

Videos and photos verified by The New York Times indicate that the convoy was bombed multiple times. The images show three destroyed white vehicles, with the northernmost and southernmost vehicles about a mile and a half apart.

The World Central Kitchen logo can be seen on items found inside the charred interiors of cars far north and south. The car in the middle was left with a large hole in its roof, which clearly bore the group's logo. The three vehicles, although far from each other, were on or near Al-Rashid Coastal Road.

It was not clear as of Tuesday morning what type of munition struck the two cars and whether those explosives were launched from the ground, from a warplane, or a drone.

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World Central Kitchen said that one of the dead had dual citizenship from the United States and Canada, while the others were from Australia, Britain, Gaza and Poland. Their names were not mentioned.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese identified one of the victims as Zomi Frankcom, an Australian citizen and a senior manager at World Central Kitchen. “The outpouring of tributes to Zomi Zomi Frankcom tell the story of a life dedicated to serving others, including her fellow Australians during natural disasters,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement. Social media.

Damian Sobol, an aid worker from the city of Przemysl in southeastern Poland, was killed in the attack, according to the city's mayor, Wojciech Bacon. “There are no words to describe how the people who knew this wonderful man are feeling at this moment,” he said in a social media post.

David Cameron, British Foreign Secretary, he said on social media Three of the aid workers killed were British citizens but their names were not mentioned. He added that he spoke with his Israeli counterpart to raise concerns.

Palestinian paramedics recovered the bodies of the seven victims and transported them to a hospital in Deir al-Balah, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. The group said that the bodies of foreigners were scheduled to be transferred from Gaza to Egypt.

Saif Abu Taha, a 26-year-old from Gaza who worked as a driver and translator for World Central Kitchen, was also killed in the attack. His brother Shadi said that Mr. Abu Taha was an adventurous young man who worked in his father’s company and spoke English well.

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Mr. Abu Taha and other workers at the World Central Kitchen were thrilled to have the opportunity to unload much-needed food aid. “They were so excited, like they were going to a wedding,” his brother said. This was the last time he saw him.

“It is essential that humanitarian workers are protected and able to do their work,” Mr Cameron said on social media. He called on Israel to “immediately investigate and provide a full and transparent explanation of what happened.”

At least 196 aid workers were killed in Gaza and the West Bank between October 2023 and late March, according to Jamie McGoldrick, a senior UN aid official. “This is not an isolated incident,” he said, later adding: “There is no longer a safe place in Gaza.”

In a video statement on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to “the tragic case of our forces who unintentionally harmed innocent people in the Gaza Strip.” Mr. Netanyahu did not mention the name of the World Central Kitchen in his statements.

But an Israeli official familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the raid was still under investigation, clarified that the prime minister was referring to the raid.

Netanyahu said: “This happens in war, and we are studying this matter fully, and we are in contact with governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again.”

An Israeli military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal investigation, said the army concluded that he was responsible for the attack on the convoy. The official said that General Herzi Halevy, the IDF Chief of Staff, is expected to review the results of the preliminary investigation into the incident on Tuesday evening.

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IDF spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari said the investigation had been referred to the Fact-Finding and Evaluation Mechanism, a military body tasked with investigating accusations and looking into the circumstances surrounding battlefield events. He added: “We will open an investigation to further examine this serious incident.” “This will help us reduce the risk of such an event happening again.”

The Israeli army said that the mechanism is an “independent, professional and expert body.” Human rights groups have generally criticized the IDF's ability to conduct transparent investigations of itself, arguing that investigations are often lengthy and rarely lead to indictments.

At the time of the strike, workers had unloaded 100 tons of aid from the Jennifer, a World Central Kitchen ship that left the Cypriot port of Larnaca last weekend and arrived in Gaza on Monday. Another 240 tons are scheduled to be unloaded on Tuesday, according to Theodoros Gotsis, spokesman for the Cypriot Foreign Ministry.

Jennifer left Gaza instead to sail back to Larnaca on Tuesday, Mr Gotsis said. He added that several more tons of aid were waiting in warehouses in Larnaca, but it was not clear when and if they would be delivered.

Patrick Kingsley, Rawan Sheikh Ahmed, Gabe Sobelman, Matina Stevis-Grednev, Lauren Letherby And Nader Ibrahim He contributed reporting to this article.