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War in the Middle East: Reports of deaths of foreign aid workers in Gaza

War in the Middle East: Reports of deaths of foreign aid workers in Gaza

Despite all appeals for peace, the war in Gaza continues. The humanitarian situation is catastrophic. Now several foreign aid workers are said to have been killed. The news at a glance.

According to Palestinian media reports, at least five employees of the aid organization World Central Kitchen were killed in a suspected Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip. The victims of the attack on a vehicle south of Dair al-Balah in the center of the sealed-off coastal strip included four foreign nationals from Poland, Australia, Ireland and Great Britain as well as their Palestinian driver, the Times of Israel reported.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed the death of an Australian aid worker and strongly condemned the attack. “This is a tragedy that should never have happened,” Australian media quoted Albanese as saying on Tuesday. His government contacted the Israeli government directly about the incident.

Israel’s army: Investigate circumstances of “tragic incident”

The Israeli army wrote on Telegram overnight that the military was conducting “a thorough investigation at the highest level to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.” The aid organization World Central Kitchen, which was founded by the Spanish celebrity chef José Andrés who lives in the USA, wrote on the platform X (formerly Twitter) that it was aware of the reports. “This is a tragedy.”

Humanitarian workers and civilians should never be targeted, it said. World Central Kitchen operates community kitchens in the Gaza Strip with local partners that prepare meals for the Palestinian population. The organization is currently also involved in aid deliveries that have been arriving by sea from Cyprus to the war zone since March.

She also took over the distribution of relief supplies on site. Photos and video footage that circulated on social media overnight are said to show the World Central Kitchen employees who were killed. You can see their bodies in protective vests and their blood-smeared passports. According to Palestinian information, the Australian woman and her colleagues as well as their Palestinian driver were in the process of delivering relief supplies at the time of the air strike, wrote the newspaper “The Sydney Morning Herald”. They had arrived in Gaza just a few hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army’s statement said its own forces were making extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid and were working closely with World Central Kitchen to provide food and humanitarian assistance to people in the embattled Gaza Strip.

Japan wants to resume payments to UNRWA

Meanwhile, the Japanese government wants to resume financial support for the UN Palestinian Relief Agency. Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa announced this, according to the Kyodo news agency. The decision was made in view of the acute humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. The UN relief agency UNRWA came under heavy criticism. Some employees were accused of being involved in the Islamist Hamas massacre in Israel on October 7 last year.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres had promised a comprehensive investigation into the allegations. The collaboration with several employees was terminated. Several countries temporarily suspended payments to UNRWA because of the allegations, including the largest donors, the United States and Germany. Japan also froze a planned payment of $35 million.

Netanyahu wants to stop Al-Jazeera broadcaster

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the rapid closure of the Arabic TV channel Al-Jazeera in the country. Netanyahu explained the allegations that Al-Jazeera had damaged Israel’s security, incited hatred against Israeli soldiers and was a “terror channel.”

Israel’s parliament had just approved the so-called Al-Jazeera law, which allows foreign TV channels to be shut down if they are deemed to pose a risk to state security. Al-Jazeera has reported extensively on the catastrophic situation in Gaza since the beginning of the Gaza War, showing images of death and destruction rarely seen on Israeli TV channels.

USA and Israel plan meetings on Rafah offensive

Representatives of the US government and the Israeli leadership are expected to meet next week to discuss Israel’s planned ground offensive in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. After a video link with representatives from both sides, the White House released a joint statement promising a face-to-face meeting next week. Both sides shared the goal of defeating Hamas in Rafah, it said.

“The US side expressed concerns about various approaches in Rafah.” The Israeli side, in turn, has agreed to take these concerns into account and to hold further discussions. Israel wants to destroy the last Hamas battalions in Rafah near the Egyptian border. The US government believes that a large-scale ground offensive is wrong because of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians who have sought protection from the fighting there and would like to show Israel alternatives.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard confirms death of generals

After the suspected Israeli air strike in Syria, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have confirmed the death of two generals from their ranks. The two brigadier generals Mohammed-Reza Sahedi and Mohammed Hadi Haji Rahimi were killed in the attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in the capital Damascus, the IRGC said in the evening. Five other members of the Revolutionary Guard were killed in the attack.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani strongly condemned the attack and blamed Israel’s arch-enemy for the killing of the generals. “The dimensions of this hateful attack are being investigated, and responsibility for its consequences lies with the aggressive Zionist regime,” the spokesman said, according to a statement from his ministry. “The Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to take countermeasures and will decide on the nature of the response.”

USA: Israel has every right to defend itself

The USA is Israel’s most important protecting power and supports the country with billions of dollars every year, a significant part of which goes towards missile defense and other military technology. However, relations between the two countries are currently very tense given the high number of civilian casualties in the Gaza war. In response to Israel’s conduct of the war, calls are growing to restrict arms sales to the ally. Armament deliveries to the country sometimes take several years, said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller in Washington.

Israel is surrounded by actors who are bent on its destruction, not only Hamas, but also Iran and its proxies, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. “We believe Israel has every right to defend itself against these adversaries,” Miller said. The Washington Post reported on Friday, citing unnamed officials in the Pentagon and State Department, that the US government had “quietly” approved new bombs and fighter jets for Israel in recent days.

Source: Stern

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