Sunday, April 21, 2024

Key food aid group says 7 workers killed in Israeli strike; IDF says it’s reviewing the incident

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Netanyahu refers to ‘tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip’

Yarden Segev

TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken as he left a hospital where he underwent what he said was a successful hernia operation.

“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.”

It was not immediately clear whether Netanyahu was referring to the strike on the World Central Kitchen aid workers, which the Israeli military has said it is probing. NBC News has reached out to his office for clarification.

José Andrés speaks out on deaths of aid workers in Gaza

Raf Sanchez

TEL AVIV — Several workers delivering humanitarian aid for World Central Kitchen have been killed in a reported Israeli airstrike. The group’s founder, chef José Andrés, released a statement about the tragedy. 

‘Not an isolated incident’: U.N. says aid worker deaths a troubling trend

The United Nations aid coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory warned today that the deadly strike that killed seven aid workers in Gaza is part of a troubling trend that has seen a record number of humanitarian workers killed since the Hamas-Israel war broke out.

“This is not an isolated incident,” Jamie McGoldrick said in a statement. “As of March 20, at least 196 humanitarians had been killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since Oct. 2023. This is nearly three times the death toll recorded in any single conflict in a year.”

He said he was “extremely saddened and appalled” by the incident, as he said the territory has become one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places to work. “There is no safe place left in Gaza,” he added.

Japan says it is resuming funding for UNRWA

Arata Yamamoto

Veronica Lin

Arata Yamamoto and Veronica Lin

TOKYO — Japan said it would resume funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency, after suspending it in January over allegations that agency staff were involved in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

About $35 million in funding that was already planned will be released to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said today.

Japan, the agency’s sixth-largest donor, had joined the U.S. and more than two dozen other countries in withdrawing support after the Israeli allegations, which remain under investigation. Several countries including Australia, Canada and Sweden have since restored funding as the agency works to regain trust.

UNRWA has been implementing measures to improve its governance and Japan will continue to confirm the appropriate use of its funds, Kamikawa said, noting the “essential” role the agency plays in providing humanitarian assistance.

IDF says it will open probe into strike, expresses condolences

Yarden Segev

The Israeli military says it will open a full probe into the strike that killed World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza and had called the group’s founder, chef José Andrés, to offer condolences.

“Last night, an incident took place in Gaza that resulted in the tragic death of World Central Kitchen employees as they fulfilled their vital mission of bringing food to people in need. As a professional military committed to international law, we are committed to examining our operations thoroughly and transparently,” IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said in a video statement this morning.

“We also express sincere sorrow to our allied nations who have been doing and continue to do so much to assist those in need,” he said.

“We have been reviewing the incident at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of what happened and how it happened. We will be opening a probe to examine this serious incident further. This will help us reduce the risk of such an event from occurring again,” Hagari added.

“We will get to the bottom of this and we will share our findings transparently.”

Australian prime minister demands ‘full accountability’ for aid worker’s death

Veronica Lin

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese demanded “full accountability” for the death of an Australian aid worker in Gaza who was one of at least seven killed yesterday in what a nongovernmental organization says was an Israeli airstrike on its convoy.

Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom was working for World Central Kitchen, a U.S.-based nonprofit providing food to the Palestinian enclave amid warnings of famine.

“This is someone who was volunteering overseas to provide aid through this charity, for people who are suffering tremendous deprivation in Gaza,” Albanese told reporters today. “And this is just completely unacceptable.”

Albanese said Australia had contacted the Israeli government to demand accountability. He also reiterated Australia’s call for a sustainable cease-fire in Gaza.

Photos show three aid vehicles hit by deadly strike

Max Butterworth

Three World Central Kitchen vehicles involved in the strike that killed seven of its employees in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, last night are pictured by the roadside in the aftermath of the attack this morning.

The international food aid charity said on April 2 it was pausing its Gaza aid operations after seven of its staff were killed in a "targeted Israeli strike" as they unloaded desperately needed food aid delivered by sea from Cyprus.
AFP – Getty Images

A projectile appears to have ripped through a vehicle marked with the number “1” on it’s windshield, leaving a large hole in the roof, striking directly through the center of the charity’s logo.Another vehicle sits completely destroyed with its hood flung open, only the charred remains left by the roadside. Fuel soaks the ground surrounding the scene, as its dented panels and doors are left scorched.

The international food aid charity said on April 2 it was pausing its Gaza aid operations after seven of its staff were killed in a "targeted Israeli strike" as they unloaded desperately needed food aid delivered by sea from Cyprus.
AFP – Getty Images

A third white SUV is abandoned in what appears to be a nearby field, missing a its front wheel and with all doors open. Remnants of high-visibility clothing and other items from inside the vehicle are strewn across the floor.

World Central Kitchen vehicles struck in Gaza
AFP via Getty Images

Family mourns ‘brave and beloved’ Australian aid worker killed in strike

Mahalia Dobson

The family of an Australian food aid worker killed in the Gaza airstrike has released a statement saying it was ” deeply mourning” its “brave and beloved Zomi.

Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom was among several foreign national aid workers killed when the World Central Kitchen convoy was hit yesterday.

“We are deeply mourning the news that our brave and beloved Zomi has been killed doing the work she loves delivering food to the people of Gaza. She was a kind, selfless and outstanding human being that has travelled the world helping others in their time of need,” the family said.

“She will leave behind a legacy of compassion, bravery and love for all those in her orbit. We are still reeling from the shock, and we humbly request privacy during this difficult time.” 

7 World Central Kitchen workers killed in airstrike

Nikolai Miller

World Central Kitchen said at least seven of its members were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. Video captured the moments when paramedics were seen moving bodies into a hospital.

U.S. tells Iran it didn’t know about plans for Israeli strike on consulate

The Biden administration communicated directly to Iran yesterday that the U.S. didn’t know about the strike on its consulate in Damascus and wasn’t involved in any way, according to two U.S. officials. 

Two other U.S. officials said the administration was told about the operation in Syria while Israeli planes were in the air but didn’t know what the target was. 

“The United States had no involvement in the strike, and we did not know about it ahead of time,” a spokesperson for the National Security Council said in a statement. 

U.S. officials still don’t have independent confirmation that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Mohammed Reza Zahedi was among those killed in the strike, according to two additional U.S. officials. 

Israeli officials have declined to comment on the strike.

World Central Kitchen says 7 workers killed in Israeli airstrike; IDF says it’s reviewing the incident

World Central Kitchen has said seven of its members were killed in an airstrike carried out by the Israel Defense Forces, and that it was pausing its operations in Gaza.

The members of the aid group were traveling in a “soft skin” vehicle and two armored cars with the World Central Kitchen logo on them when they were struck yesterday, the organization said in a statement. The group added that the convoy was hit despite having coordinated its movements with the IDF, and that members at the time were leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where they had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid.

“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. This is unforgivable,” World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore said.

“The seven killed are from Australia, Poland, United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, and Palestine,” the aid group said.

The IDF said it was “conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.”

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