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Bodies of foreign aid workers killed in Gaza handed to UN

April 4, 2024 at 8:29 am

Bodies of foreign employees of the US-based international volunteer aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), who were killed after an Israeli attack on a vehicle belonging to WCK, are taken to El-Nejar Hospital in Rafah city, Gaza on April 03, 2024 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

The Government Media Office in Gaza announced that the bodies of the six foreign employees of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) were handed to UN OCHA representatives and they were transported out of Gaza through the Rafah crossing.

In a statement the office said: “A short while ago, government crews in the Gaza Strip finished handing over the bodies of the six foreigners who were killed by the Israeli occupation army in the Gaza Strip, where they were on a humanitarian mission as part of their work with the World Central Kitchen Foundation, which was providing its services – before announcing the cessation of its work – to thousands of displaced people who were forced by the genocidal war to leave their homes and take refuge in shelter and displacement centres in the governorates of the Gaza Strip.”

“The Ministry of Health, the Crossings and Borders Authority, and government teams in the Gaza Strip supervised the delivery of the bodies to representatives of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), while arrangements were then completed to transport these bodies out of the Gaza Strip through the Rafah land crossing.”

Describing Israel’s targeting of the aid workers as “a horrific massacre”, the media office added that it held “the American administration, the international community, and the Israeli occupation fully responsible for this crime, as the occupation is still being given the green light to continue committing genocide, which has so far resulted in 120,000 victims, the majority of whom are children and women.”

The organisation had stated “World Central Kitchen is devastated to confirm seven members of our team have been killed in an IDF strike in Gaza,” adding, “Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.”

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According to the organisation, “the even killed are from Australia, Poland, United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, and Palestine.”

Israeli President Isaac Herzog offered his “apologies” to the World Central Kitchen organisation after seven of its workers were killed in Israeli air strikes in Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza on Monday.

WCK founder Jose Andres yesterday accused Israeli occupation forces in Gaza of targeting the aid workers “systematically, car by car”. He added that this was not a “bad luck situation where, ‘oops,’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place”.

However Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said yesterday: “We have completed a preliminary investigation on the matter. I want to state clearly, there was no deliberate attack against the WCK organisation’s aid workers. We are sorry for unintentionally harming WCK workers. We share the sorrow of their families, as well as the sorrow of the entire World Central Kitchen organisation, from the bottom of our hearts.”