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World powers condemn deadly Gaza air strike on aid workers

Israel says was targeting 'Hamas gunman' when it killed Gaza aid workers
Source: Video Screenshot

World powers on Tuesday condemned a deadly Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip that killed seven charity staff as they unloaded desperately needed aid brought by sea to the war-torn territory.

World Central Kitchen — one of two NGOs spearheading efforts to deliver aid by boat — said a “targeted Israeli strike” on Monday killed Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian staff.

US President Joe Biden called the US-based celebrity chef Jose Andres, who heads the charity, to say that he was “heartbroken” over the strike and to say that “he will make clear to Israel that humanitarian aid workers must be protected”, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a briefing.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the strike highlighted the “disregard for international humanitarian law and a disregard for the protection of humanitarian workers”.

“The multiplicity of such events is the inevitable result of the way this war is currently being conducted,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged a “swift, impartial investigation” and said Israel needed to do more to protect innocent civilians, a call that was echoed by Germany.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said he called charity head Andres to express his “deep sorrow and sincere apologies over the tragic loss of life”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the strike was “unintentional” but stopped short of apologising for the deaths that he described as a “tragic case”. The Israeli army has vowed to hold an investigation and promised to “share our findings transparently”.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “shocked and saddened” after learning that British nationals were among those killed.

He spoke to Netanyahu and told the Israeli leader that “he was appalled by the killing of aid workers”, a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement.

He also “demanded a thorough and transparent independent investigation into what happened”.

The UK summoned the Israeli ambassador to express its “unequivocal condemnation”.

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said that “nothing justifies such a tragedy”, adding that “protecting humanitarian workers is a moral and legal imperative that everyone must adhere to”.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese slammed the “completely unacceptable” attack, called it a “tragedy that should never have occurred”, and offered “sincere condolences” to the family of Australian volunteer Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, who was killed in the strike.

“She just wanted to help out through this charity. That says everything about the character of this young woman,” Albanese said.


– ‘Indiscriminate killing’ –


The founder and leader of World Central Kitchen, Spanish-born US-based chef Andres, said he was “heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family”.

“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing,” he wrote on social media. “It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon.”

The charity said it had coordinated its movements with the Israeli army and was travelling in vehicles branded with its logo.

It has paused its operations in Gaza.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who on Tuesday was visiting a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, said “I expect and demand that the Israeli government clarify as soon as possible the circumstances of this brutal attack”.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is also Spanish, said that “despite all the demands to protect civilians and humanitarian workers, we see new innocent casualties”.

“I condemn the attack and urge an investigation,” he wrote on X.

Warsaw said it had asked the Israeli ambassador for “urgent explanations” about the incident, which killed one Polish citizen, and offered “condolences to the family of our brave volunteer”.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said the country had also opened its own inquiry into the aid worker’s death and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Szejna said that Israel should compensate the families of the aid workers killed.

“The authorities should think about who should be held criminally responsible for pressing a certain button and how to compensate the families of the victims — even if it’s impossible to do so with money,” Szejna told Radio Zet.

Criticism also came from Beijing, which said it was “shocked” by the strike.

Since Hamas’s October 7 attacks triggered the war, Gaza has been under a near-complete blockade, with the United Nations accusing Israel of preventing deliveries of humanitarian aid.

About the author


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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