International pressure is mounting over Israel’s assault on World Central Kitchen workers

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Israel is facing international criticism over an airstrike that killed seven aid workers at the World Central Kitchen (WCK) in Gaza.

The UK, Poland, Australia, Canada and the US, whose citizens died in the attack, called on Israel to investigate.

Humanitarian aid to Gaza is now in doubt, with WCK – one of the main aid providers in the Strip – suspending its operations.

The Israeli military has promised to conduct an independent investigation into the incident.

Three of the aid workers killed were British nationals. A Polish citizen, an Australian, a Palestinian and two US-Canadian citizens were also killed.

The Israeli Embassy in London, Zipi Hotovelyhe was invited to meet the Minister of State of UK Andrew Mitchell on Tuesday.

Mr Mitchell told Ms Hotovely that the government condemned the “horrific killings” of aid workers and called for “quick and comprehensive investigations, international sharing, and full accountability”.

Poland’s foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, said he had called for an independent investigation Israel Katza friend of Israel.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said she expects a “full response” to the killings, adding that attacks on aid workers are “unacceptable”.

“Someone who is going to give aid and help people should [never] they have lost their lives,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

While US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged “a quick, thorough, impartial investigation to understand what happened”.

He added that he condemned “the number of humanitarian workers who have been killed in this conflict”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that the Israeli army had hit “innocent people” and promised an independent investigation.

“Unfortunately, in the last 24 hours there was a tragic incident of our soldiers attacking innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

“It happens in war, we are investigating it to the end, we are in contact with the authorities, and we will do everything to prevent this from happening again.”

WCK – founded by the famous chef José Andrés – said four days ago that it had donated 42 million meals to Gaza.

The charity said it would to suspend its operations in the area at the same time. “We will be making decisions about the future of our work shortly,” the charity said in a statement.

It said on March 29 that it had donated more than 42 million meals to the Strip, making it one of the largest aid agencies in Gaza. The charity said it has sent more than 1,700 cars to the Strip.

The charity added that it has sent around 435,000 food items by sea to Gaza.

According to Cogat, the Israeli Defense Ministry agency that oversees civilian policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the WCK controls 60% of the non-governmental aid that flows into the region.

A second charity, American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera), which works with WCK, told the BBC it was suspending its operations in Gaza.

Some of the support staff those who were killed are mentioned such as:

  • Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, an Australian citizen

  • Damian Sobol, a Polish citizen

  • Saif Abu Taha, from Palestine

According to the charity, the aid group was hit while leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, “where the group unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian aid that they brought to Gaza by sea.”

The group was made up of three vehicles, including two armored vehicles, which clearly displayed the symbol of the charity. All three were hit during the strike.

The WCK said it coordinated the convoy’s movement with the IDF.

More than 196 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since October, according to the US-Aid Worker Security Database, which records major incidents of violence against workers. Not all were killed on duty.

Much of the Gaza Strip has been destroyed during the Israeli war that began after Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing nearly 1,200 people and taking 253 prisoners.

About 130 of the hostages are still in captivity, and about 34 of them are thought to be dead.

More than 32,916 people have been killed in Gaza since then, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

The map shows the three locations where the WCK vehicles were hit

[BBC]

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