Tuesday April 16, 2024

WCK pauses Gaza operation after aid workers killed in Israeli strike

Published : 03 Apr 2024, 05:16

  DF News Desk
A Palestinian checks a damaged vehicle after Israeli strikes in central Gaza Strip city of Deir el-Balah, on April 2, 2024. Photo: Xinhua.

The World Central Kitchen (WCK) organization on Tuesday announced an immediate suspension of its aid operations in Gaza, following the killing of seven employees in an overnight Israeli airstrike, reported Xinhua.

The non-profit organization was "shocked to confirm the killing of seven members of its team in an Israeli army raid on Gaza," it said in a statement published on the official website.

The aid group noted the targetted team "was traveling in a demilitarized zone in two armored cars bearing the organization's logo."

The team was hit while leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse after unloading food aid there despite coordinating movements with the Israel Defense Forces, the statement added, urging Israel to stop "this indiscriminate killing" in Gaza.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said on Tuesday that after several hours of difficult rescue work, its crews managed to recover the bodies of seven WCK employees.

"The seven bodies were transferred to hospitals in preparation for their evacuation via the Rafah border crossing," it said in a press statement.

The Hamas media office in Gaza said on Monday night that the workers, of different nationalities, were killed after "two cars were targeted while they were traveling on the sea road west of Deir al-Balah" in central Gaza, as they were on the way to receive aid arriving via sea route.

According to the WCK, the seven staff members were from Palestine, Australia, Poland, Britain, and a dual-citizen of Canada and the United States.

Israel on Tuesday assumed responsibility for the attack and pledged to investigate the incident.

WCK is a non-profit, non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters.

In Gaza, its crew helps distribute humanitarian aid to Palestinians facing dire food shortages.