What we know about the strike that killed global kitchen workers in Gaza

Seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen were killed in the Gaza Strip when their convoy came under fire on Monday night, according to the aid organization and Gaza health officials.

The disaster relief organisation, founded by Spanish chef José Andrés, said the convoy had been hit by an Israeli attack. In a statement following the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the “tragic case in which our forces unintentionally struck innocent people.” He said Israel was in contact with foreign governments about the episode.

Here's what we know.

World Central Kitchen staff members were leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah, a town in the central Gaza Strip, when their convoy – two armored cars and a third vehicle – came under fire late Monday, the organization in a note.

The Israeli army had been informed of the aid workers' movements, the charity said. According to the group, aid workers had just unloaded more than 100 tons of food brought to Gaza by sea into the warehouse.

Videos and photos verified by the New York Times suggest the convoy was hit multiple times. The images show three white vehicles destroyed, with the northernmost and southernmost vehicles nearly a mile and a half apart.

The World Central Kitchen logo could be seen on items inside the charred interiors of cars farther north and south. The car in the center had a hole in the roof, clearly marked with the group's logo. All three vehicles, although distant from each other, were located on or near the Al-Rashid coastal road.

It was unclear Tuesday morning what type of munitions hit the cars and whether those explosives were dropped from the ground, from a warplane or from a drone.

World Central Kitchen said one of the dead was a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, while the others were from Australia, Britain, Gaza and Poland. In a post with the names and ages of the victims on the group's website, its chief executive, Erin Gore, said: “We are reeling from our loss.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese identified one of the victims as Zomi Frankcom, an Australian citizen and manager of World Central Kitchen. “The tributes flowing to Lalzawmi 'Zomi' Frankcom tell the story of a life dedicated to serving others, including his fellow Australians during natural disasters,” said Penny Wong, the country's foreign minister. means of social communication.

Damian Sobol, an aid worker from the southeastern Polish city of Przemysl, died in the attack, according to the city's mayor, Wojciech Bakun. “There are no words to describe what the people who knew this fantastic boy are feeling right now,” he said in a post on social media.

David Cameron, British Foreign Secretary, said on social media that three of the aid workers killed were British citizens. The BBC reported their names: John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby. Local British media described Chapman and Henderson as former Royal Marines who later turned to volunteering.

Jacob Flickinger, who also died in the attack, was 33 years old with dual citizenship of the United States and Canada, according to World Central Kitchen, and worked on the group's rescue team.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, Palestinian doctors recovered the bodies of the seven victims and took them to a hospital in Deir al Balah. The bodies of the foreigners were to be taken from Gaza to Egypt, the group said.

Saif Abutaha, a 25-year-old from Gaza who worked as a driver and translator for World Central Kitchen, also died in the attack. Mr Abutaha was an enterprising young man who worked in his father's company and spoke good English, his brother Shadi said.

Mr. Abutaha and the other workers at World Central Kitchen were thrilled to have the opportunity to unload desperately needed food aid. “They were so excited, like they were going to a wedding,” his brother said. It was the last time he saw him.

Cameron said on social media that “it is essential that aid workers are protected and can do their work.” He called on Israel “to investigate immediately and provide a full and transparent explanation of what happened.”

According to Jamie McGoldrick, a senior United Nations official, at least 196 aid workers were killed in Gaza and the West Bank between October 2023 and the end of March. “This is not an isolated incident,” he said, later adding: “There is no safe place left in Gaza.”

In a video statement on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the “tragic case in which our forces unintentionally harmed innocent people in the Gaza Strip.” Netanyahu did not mention World Central Kitchen in his remarks.

But an Israeli official familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the strike was still under investigation, clarified that the prime minister was referring to the strike.

“It happens in war, we are looking into it carefully, we are in contact with governments and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again,” Netanyahu said.

An Israeli military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal investigation, said the army concluded it was responsible for the attack on the convoy. General Herzi Halevi, Israel's military chief of staff, is expected to review the results of an initial investigation into the incident on Tuesday evening, the official said.

An Israeli army spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said the investigation was entrusted to the Fact Finding and Assessment Mechanism, a military body tasked with investigating the allegations and examining the circumstances behind the battle incidents. “We will open an investigation to further examine this serious incident,” he said. “This will help us reduce the risk of such an event happening again.”

The Israeli military said the mechanism is an “independent, professional and expert body.” Human rights groups have generally been critical of the Israeli military's ability to transparently investigate itself, charging that investigations are often lengthy and rarely lead to an indictment.

At the time of the strike, workers had unloaded 100 tons of aid from the Jennifer, a World Central Kitchen ship that left the Cypriot port of Larnaca last weekend and arrived in Gaza on Monday. Another 240 tonnes are expected to be unloaded on Tuesday, according to Theodoros Gotsis, spokesman for the Cypriot Foreign Ministry.

Mr Gotsis said Jennifer instead left Gaza to return to Larnaca on Tuesday. He added that many more tons of aid were waiting in warehouses in Larnaca, but that it was unclear when or if a mission to deliver them would take place.

Patrick Kingsley, Rawan Sheikh Ahmad, Gabby Sobelman, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Lauren Leatherby, Nadir Ibrahim AND Kim Severson contributed reporting to this article.

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