Relief Workers Killed in Gaza by IDF’s ‘Unintended Strike’

( – An Israeli Defense Force (IDF) bomb struck an aid convoy in Gaza on April 1, killing seven people. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the incident as “unintentional,” and an IDF spokesperson expressed “sincere sorrow” over the deaths. The aid workers were part of a team from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) organization, which said it would suspend operations, noting that ships carrying 240 tons of aid had aborted their delivery mission.

Six World Central Kitchen workers died in the strike, as well as their Palestinian driver, while they were transporting food to the northern region of the Gaza Strip. The organization said people there are on the brink of starvation.

IDF Chief of the General Staff Herzi Halevi issued a press release saying the attack was a mistake caused by “misidentification.” He added that it occurred at night in a complex warzone, but conceded, “It shouldn’t have happened.”

World Central Kitchen, a US-based non-profit founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, distributes meals in war zones and natural disaster sites. It began its work in 2010 following a devastating earthquake in Haiti. Since then, it has distributed more than 350 million meals worldwide.

A White House statement on the Gaza incident called for a “swift” investigation that “brings accountability.” The statement notes that the current Middle East conflict is “one of the worst in living memory” and accuses Israel of not doing enough to protect civilians and aid workers.

On Twitter, WCK founder José Andrés said he is heartbroken at the loss of his organization’s “heroes” and called on the Israeli government to “stop this indiscriminate killing.”

Analysts say the incident increases international pressure on Israel, particularly in the wake of a similar tragedy in February when over 100 Palestinians died after Israeli troops opened fire as an aid convoy was besieged by crowds. Israel said the fatalities were caused by crushing, and its troops fired only at a small group that threatened an IDF checkpoint.

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