For the best experience, open
https://m.greaterkashmir.com
on your mobile browser.

6 foreigners among 7 aid workers killed in Israeli air attack

12:51 AM Apr 03, 2024 IST | SURINDER SINGH OBEROI
6 foreigners among 7 aid workers killed in israeli air attack
Advertisement

New Delhi, Apr 2: Seven aid workers including Three Britishers, an Australian, a Polish man, a Palestinian, and a dual US-Canadian citizen lost their lives in an Israeli air attack on the convoy of the World Central Kitchen International aid group.

Advertisement
   

Preparations are underway to transfer the remains of the six foreigners to Egypt via the Rafah border crossing tomorrow morning.

Advertisement

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society, in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross, will oversee the transportation process.

Seif Issam Abu Taha, the Palestinian driver for the World Central Kitchen, who lost his life alongside the aid workers, was mourned by hundreds of people. His body was transported to Rafah, his hometown, where grieving relatives, colleagues, and friends carried him on their shoulders.

Advertisement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that the individuals were killed by Israeli troops, stating that the convoy they were travelling in was unintentionally targeted. "It's a regrettable consequence of conflict... and we are committed to preventing such incidents from occurring in the future," he affirmed.

Advertisement

José Andrés, the founder of World Central Kitchen (WCK), confirmed that his staff fell victim to an air strike conducted by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). The victims were reportedly involved in coordinating the delivery of food aid to central Gaza.

Advertisement

During a press conference in Paris, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Washington is pressing Israel to investigate the airstrike that resulted in the deaths of seven aid workers in Gaza.

Advertisement

"We've communicated directly with the Israeli government regarding this specific incident. We've emphasized the importance of a prompt, comprehensive, and unbiased investigation to ascertain the full details of what transpired," Blinken informed reporters.

With Israel's decision to prohibit UNRWA, the primary UN entity responsible for Palestinian welfare in the Gaza Strip, the reliance on other humanitarian organisations has significantly increased.

Recently, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released a report highlighting access limitations on humanitarian aid in Gaza. The report included a map featuring several designated "high-risk areas" for aid convoys, including the coastal road south of Deir al-Balah, where the aid workers lost their lives.

WCK has been on the ground for months and has brought in a second 400-tonne shipment of aid by sea from Cyprus, The organisation is playing an increasingly prominent and important role in preventing Gaza from sliding into famine.

Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, expressed deep concern over the incident, emphasising the need to protect humanitarian aid workers delivering essential assistance.

The call for an investigation into the incident was echoed by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who confirmed the death of aid worker Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom and offered condolences to the bereaved.

Further details surrounding the attack are still emerging, with reports indicating that the aid workers were wearing bullet-proof vests bearing the WCK logo.

The charity, renowned for its efforts in providing meals to thousands in Gaza, issued a statement expressing grief and emphasising the unacceptable targeting of humanitarian workers. All aid workers were wearing bullet-proof vests bearing the charity's logo visible which should never be a target.

Following the incident, José Andrés urged the Israeli government to halt indiscriminate killings. Concurrently, the IDF reaffirmed its dedication to facilitating the secure delivery of humanitarian aid and announced a comprehensive investigation to comprehend the circumstances surrounding the tragic event. Aid workers continue to advocate for safe access to Gaza.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) has announced a temporary suspension of its operations and will soon deliberate on the future course of action. The CEO of WCK labelled the attack as "unforgivable." It is the first time the organisation in the last 56 years have suspended their operations in Palestine.

Before this incident, at least 196 aid workers had lost their lives in the Palestinian territories since the onset of the conflict, as reported by the Aid Worker Security Database, which documents major instances of violence against humanitarian personnel.

Last year marked the deadliest on record with 161 aid workers reported killed, with a significant portion of casualties being personnel from the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), which oversees the largest aid operation in the region.

Advertisement