Middle East Crisis: Attack on Workers Slows Flow of Aid to Gazans

Middle East Crisis: Attack on Workers Slows Flow of Aid to Gazans

Seven support staff with World Central Kitchen have been killed within the Gaza Strip when their convoy got here beneath fireplace on Monday night time, in response to the help group and Gazan well being officers.

The catastrophe aid group, based by the Spanish chef José Andrés, mentioned the convoy was hit in an Israeli strike. In a press release following the assault, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel referred to a “tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting harmless folks.” He mentioned Israel was in contact with international governments over the episode.

Here’s what we all know.

The convoy of three automobiles had simply left a meals warehouse.

The World Central Kitchen workers members have been leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah, a metropolis within the central Gaza Strip, when their convoy — two armored automobiles and a 3rd automobile — got here beneath fireplace late Monday, the group mentioned in a press release.

The Israeli navy had been knowledgeable of the help staff’ actions, the charity mentioned. Aid staff had simply unloaded greater than 100 tons of meals delivered to Gaza by sea on the warehouse, in response to the group.

Videos and photographs verified by The New York Times counsel the convoy was hit a number of instances. The imagery exhibits three destroyed white automobiles, with the northernmost and southernmost automobiles practically a mile and a half aside.

The World Central Kitchen emblem may very well be seen on objects contained in the charred interiors of the northernmost and southernmost automobiles. The automotive within the center was left with a gaping gap in its roof, which was clearly marked with the group’s emblem. All three automobiles, although far other than one another, have been on or close to the Al-Rashid coastal highway.

It remained unclear on Tuesday morning what kind of munition struck the automobiles and whether or not these explosives have been launched from the bottom, a warplane or a drone.

Six international residents and a Palestinian have been killed.

World Central Kitchen mentioned a type of killed was a twin citizen of the United States and Canada, whereas the others have been from Australia, Britain, Gaza and Poland. In a put up with the victims’ names and ages on the group’s web site, its chief govt, Erin Gore, mentioned “We are reeling from our loss.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia recognized one of many victims as Zomi Frankcom, an Australian citizen and a senior manager at World Central Kitchen. “The tributes flowing for Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom inform the story of a life devoted to the service of others, together with her fellow Australians throughout pure disasters,” Penny Wong, the nation’s international minister, mentioned on social media.

Damian Sobol, an support employee from the southeastern Polish metropolis of Przemysl, died within the assault, in response to town’s mayor, Wojciech Bakun. “There aren’t any phrases to explain what individuals who knew this improbable man really feel at this second,” he mentioned in a put up on social media.

Zomi Frankcom in March.Credit…World Central Kitchen, through Reuters
Damian Sobol, proper, in an undated photograph.Credit…Free Place Foundation, through Associated Press

David Cameron, the British international secretary, said on social media that three of the help staff who have been killed have been British residents. The BBC reported their names: John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby. Local British media retailers described Mr. Chapman and Mr. Henderson as former Royal Marines who later turned to volunteer work.

Jacob Flickinger, who additionally died within the assault, was a 33-year-old twin citizen of the United States and Canada, in response to the World Central Kitchen, and labored on the group’s aid staff.

Palestinian medics retrieved the our bodies of the seven victims and took them to a hospital in Deir al Balah, in response to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. The our bodies of the foreigners have been to be taken out of Gaza into Egypt, the group mentioned.

Saif Abutaha, a 25-year-old Gazan working as a driver and translator for World Central Kitchen, additionally died within the assault. Mr. Abutaha was an enterprising younger man who labored in his father’s enterprise and spoke good English, his brother Shadi mentioned.

Mr. Abutaha and different World Central Kitchen staff have been thrilled to have the chance to unload the desperately wanted meals support. “They have been so excited, like they have been going to a marriage,” his brother mentioned. It was the final time he noticed him.

Mr. Cameron mentioned on social media that “it’s important that humanitarian staff are protected and in a position to perform their work.” He referred to as on Israel “to right away examine and supply a full, clear clarification of what occurred.”

At least 196 support staff have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank between October 2023 and late March, in response to Jamie McGoldrick, a senior U.N. aid official. “This is just not an remoted incident,” he mentioned, later including: “There isn’t any protected place left in Gaza.”

World Central Kitchen staff gathering across the our bodies of their colleagues after they have been transferred to Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah on Tuesday.Credit…Haitham Imad/EPA, through Shutterstock

The prime minister appeared to take duty for the ‘unintentional’ assault.

In a video assertion on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel referred to a “tragic case of our forces unintentionally harming harmless folks within the Gaza Strip.” Mr. Netanyahu didn’t title World Central Kitchen in his remarks.

But an Israeli official conversant in the matter, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of the strike was nonetheless beneath investigation, clarified that the prime minister was referring to the strike.

“It occurs in conflict, we’re absolutely analyzing this, we’re in touch with the governments, and we are going to do every thing in order that this factor doesn’t occur once more,” Mr. Netanyahu mentioned.

An Israeli navy official, who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate an inside investigation, mentioned the navy had concluded it was liable for the strike on the convoy. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israeli navy chief of workers, is anticipated to overview findings of an preliminary inquiry into the incident on Tuesday night, the official mentioned.

A spokesman for Israel’s navy, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, mentioned the investigation had been referred to the Fact Finding and Assessment Mechanism, a navy physique tasked with investigating accusations and looking out into the circumstances behind battlefield episodes. “We will likely be opening a probe to look at this critical incident additional,” he mentioned. “This will assist us scale back the danger of such an occasion from occurring once more.”

United Nations members inspecting one of many destroyed World Central Kitchen automobiles on Tuesday.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Israeli navy mentioned the mechanism was an “impartial, skilled and skilled physique.” Human rights teams have usually been crucial of the Israeli navy’s means to transparently examine itself, charging that inquiries are sometimes lengthy and infrequently result in indictments.

The World Central Kitchen support ship is headed again to Cyprus.

At the time of the strike, staff had unloaded 100 tons of support from the Jennifer, a World Central Kitchen vessel that had left the Cypriot port of Larnaca final weekend and arrived in Gaza on Monday. Another 240 tons have been to be unloaded on Tuesday, in response to Theodoros Gotsis, a spokesman for the Cypriot international ministry.

Mr. Gotsis mentioned that the Jennifer as a substitute left Gaza to sail again to Larnaca on Tuesday. He added that a number of extra tons of support have been ready at warehouses in Larnaca, however that it was not clear when and whether or not a mission to ship them would happen.

Patrick Kingsley, Rawan Sheikh Ahmad, Gabby Sobelman, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Lauren Leatherby, Nader Ibrahim and Kim Severson contributed reporting to this text.



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