Foreign aid workers killed in Gaza 'air strike'

3 weeks ago 29

A person being wheeled into hospital on a gurney by hospital workersImage source, Reuters

Image caption,

The bodies were taken to a hospital in Gaza

By Emily Atkinson

BBC News

Four aid workers said to include a Briton, a Pole and an Australian, and their Palestinian driver, have died in what the Hamas-run health ministry says was an Israeli air strike in Gaza.

A Palestinian medical source told the BBC the workers had been wearing bullet-proof vests bearing the World Central Kitchen (WCK) logo.

The US-based NGO described the reported deaths as a "tragedy".

Israel's military said it was conducting a "thorough review".

The medical source at al-Aqsa hospital in the central Gaza Strip told the BBC that the bodies of the four workers had been brought to the hospital after a car they were travelling in on the coastal road was hit by an air strike at Deir al-Balah.

Further details of the alleged attack remain unclear.

Image source, Reuters

Image caption,

The World Central Kitchen said it was "aware of reports" that members of its team had been killed

Local journalists have shared footage and images of passports they say belong to the killed workers online, identifying people of several different nationalities, but no details have been confirmed.

In a statement, the WCK said it was "aware of reports" that members of its team had been "killed in an IDF [Israel Defense Forces] attack while working to support our humanitarian food delivery efforts in Gaza".

"This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should never be a target, ever. We will share more information when we have gathered all the facts," it added.

In a post on X, WCK founder Chef José Andrés called on the Israeli government "to stop this indiscriminate killing".

The charity recently made headlines for providing hundreds of tonnes of food for Gazans that arrived on the first aid ship.

Commenting on the reports, the IDF said it was conducting a thorough review at the highest level to understand the circumstances of this "tragic incident".

"The IDF makes extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, and has been working closely with WCK in their vital efforts to provide food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza," it added.

The Australian foreign ministry said it was urgently seeking to confirm what it said were "distressing" reports that an Australian was among the aid workers killed in Deir al-Balah.

"We have been very clear that we expect humanitarian workers in Gaza to have safe and unimpeded access to do their lifesaving work," a spokesperson said in a statement.

The UK Foreign Office has been contacted for comment.

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