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War in the Middle East: Horror at death of Gaza aid workers in Israeli attack

War in the Middle East: Horror at death of Gaza aid workers in Israeli attack

The team of foreign aid workers was traveling to feed the starving population of Gaza. They fell victim to an Israeli attack. Germany and the USA are demanding clarification.

The death of foreign aid workers in the Gaza Strip in an Israeli airstrike has sparked widespread international outrage. The aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK) confirmed the deaths of seven of its employees.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke in a video message of a “tragic case of an accidental hit by our armed forces against innocent people in the Gaza Strip.” The incident is being investigated and everything will be done to ensure that it does not happen again. Calls for a thorough investigation are growing.

Organization wants to stop operations in the Gaza Strip

According to World Central Kitchen, the seven victims came from Australia, Poland, Great Britain and the Palestinian territories – and one of the victims also had American and Canadian citizenship. In view of the fatal incident, the organization wants to immediately stop its operations in the region and soon make decisions “about the future of our work.”

“The WCK team was traveling in a conflict-free zone in two armored vehicles with the WCK logo and one unprotected vehicle,” the aid organization wrote. The convoy was hit, even though the trip had been coordinated with the Israeli army. The aid workers had just left a warehouse in the town of Deir al-Balah in the central part of the Gaza Strip when they were fired upon. There they unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid that was brought to the Gaza Strip by sea.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the attack was due to suspected terrorism. The armed forces attacked the aid convoy because they suspected a terrorist was traveling with it, the paper reported, citing unnamed defense officials. Shortly before entering the warehouse, a unit had identified an armed man on a truck who was no longer part of the motorcade when it left the hall. A drone fired three missiles at the cars.

In the Mediterranean, the ship “Jennifer” with 250 tons of relief supplies on board returned to the Cypriot port of Larnaka for safety reasons after the incident, a spokesman for the local Foreign Ministry confirmed to the German Press Agency.

Israel’s president apologizes to founder of aid organization

Israel’s President Izchak Herzog apologized to the founder of the aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK) after the deaths of several international aid workers in the Gaza Strip. Herzog spoke to José Andrés on the phone and expressed his deep regret over the “tragic loss of the lives of the WCK employees,” the Israeli president wrote on the X platform (formerly Twitter). He also expressed a sincere apology and expressed his condolences to the families of those killed.

Baerbock and Blinken demand clarification

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for clarification: “The Israeli government must investigate this terrible incident quickly and thoroughly,” wrote the Green politician on the X platform (formerly Twitter). “We once again call on the Israeli government to ensure effective conflict resolution measures. Such incidents must not happen.”

Their American counterpart Antony Blinken and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski made similar statements after direct talks with the Israeli government. The British government hired the Israeli ambassador to London.

USA “outraged” by deaths of Gaza aid workers

The US government reacted with outrage to the deaths of several foreign aid workers and urgently demanded clarification from Israel. National Security Council Communications Director John Kirby said at the White House in Washington that the US government was “outraged” when it learned of the Israeli military’s airstrike that killed seven aid workers at World Central Kitchen. The White House expects Israel to quickly conduct a more in-depth investigation after the preliminary review of the incident.

“We hope that the results will be made public and that those responsible will be held accountable,” Kirby said. The US government has also made this position “very clear” towards Israel.

Israel’s army announces thorough investigation

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said Israel’s army is bound by international law. “We are obliged to investigate our operations thoroughly and transparently,” said Hagari. “We will open an investigation to further examine this serious incident. This will help us reduce the risk of such an incident happening again.” He spoke of the investigation by an independent and professional committee of experts. We will get to the bottom of the matter and share the results transparently.

The Gaza war was triggered by the unprecedented massacre with more than 1,200 deaths that terrorists from Hamas and other Islamist groups carried out in Israel on October 7th last year. Israel responded with massive air strikes and a ground offensive. In view of the high number of civilian casualties and the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip, Israel is increasingly criticized internationally.

WCK provides food to people in disaster areas

World Central Kitchen is a relief foundation that the Spanish-born star chef José Andrés founded in 2010 in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Since then, WCK has been providing meals to people in disaster areas around the world. “This is not just an attack on WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations that find themselves in dire situations where food is used as a weapon in war,” said the organization’s executive director, Erin Gore. “This is unforgivable.”

The family of a slain Australian employee said the 43-year-old died “while doing the work she loved.” She will “leave a legacy of compassion, courage and love for everyone around her.”

International outrage over the death of the helpers

Egypt, among others, strongly condemned the attack. In its statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spoke of Israel’s ongoing attacks on organizations working in the humanitarian sector. Egypt is calling for an urgent and serious investigation to hold those responsible “accountable for these systematic and deliberate violations of Palestinian human rights.” Jordan’s King Abdullah II emphasized that humanitarian organizations in the Gaza Strip must be protected.

United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths highlighted the courage of the seven humanitarian workers killed in Gaza. “They were heroes. They were killed trying to feed starving people,” he wrote on X.

The British government demanded clarification from Israel after the deadly attack. British Foreign Minister David Cameron said the news was deeply shocking. British citizens were also reportedly killed. “We are working to verify this information and will provide full support to their families.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said: “I expect and demand that the Israeli government clarify as quickly as possible the circumstances of this brutal attack that claimed the lives of seven aid workers who did nothing other than help.”

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen wrote on X: “I pay tribute to the helpers who lost their lives in Gaza.” The aid organization is a crucial partner in alleviating the suffering of the people of Gaza, including by providing food via the maritime corridor.

Party founder Sahra Wagenknecht calls for an immediate arms embargo against Israel. “The deaths in Gaza and Israel’s attacks in neighboring countries must end immediately,” Wagenknecht said on Tuesday. “The fact that employees of international aid organizations who wanted to feed the hungry were targeted by the Israeli army must have consequences.”

Source: Stern

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