Middle East crisis live: Israeli military investigating after Gaza officials say foreign aid workers killed in IDF strike | Israel-Gaza war

Key events

A correspondent for Agence France-Presse confirmed seeing five bodies with three foreign passports lying nearby at the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza, the news agency reports.

Earlier, the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry had said the bodies of four foreign aid workers and their Palestinian driver and translator were brought to the hospital after an Israeli strike targeted their vehicle.

The Israeli military said it was “conducting a thorough review”.

World Central Kitchen has been involved in delivering the aid arriving by boat from Cyprus, and in the construction of a temporary jetty in Gaza.

Two charities have organised aid deliveries by sea from Cyprus, with the second flotilla, setting sail on Saturday with about 400 tonnes of supplies – a fraction of Gaza’s needs.

Since Hamas’s unprecedented 7 October attack, Gaza has been under a near-complete blockade, and UN agencies have warned repeatedly that northern Gaza is on the verge of famine. Israel has denied responsibility.

Australia’s prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has told national broadcaster the ABC that the country’s foreign ministry is “urgently investigating” reports of the strike on a Gaza convoy.

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said reports of the death of an Australian aid worker were very distressing.

“We have been clear on the need for civilian lives to be protected in this conflict,” Reuters quoted the spokesperson as saying.

We have been very clear that we expect humanitarian workers in Gaza to have safe and unimpeded access to do their lifesaving work.

World Central Kitchen founder ‘heartbroken’ at deaths

José Andrés said he was “heartbroken and grieving” over the deaths in the strike.

The World Central Kitchen’s founder said on X (formerly Twitter) that the WCK “lost several of our sisters and brothers in an IDF air strike in Gaza” and that “they are not faceless … they are not nameless”.

Andrés added:

The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing. It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives lost. Peace starts with our shared humanity. It needs to start now.

Today @WCKitchen lost several of our sisters and brothers in an IDF air strike in Gaza. I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family. These are people…angels…I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Turkey, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia. They… https://t.co/rM3xbsiQ1Q

— Chef José Andrés 🕊️🥘🍳 (@chefjoseandres) April 1, 2024

The Guardian has not been able to independently verify the source of the strike.


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A full report on the reported Gaza strike is here – by my colleague Ben Doherty:

For some background on the World Central Kitchen (WCK), the US-based charity delivers food relief and prepares meals for people in need.

It said last month it had served more than 42m meals in Gaza over 175 days.

Reuters reports that chef José Andrés started the WCK in 2010 by sending cooks and food to Haiti after an earthquake. The organisation has since delivered food for communities hit by natural disasters, refugees at the US border, healthcare workers during the Covid pandemic and people in conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

In its most recent post from Monday on X, the WCK said its teams mobilised across Gaza daily to distribute food to displaced Palestinians.

It said:

Our 60+ kitchens in southern and central Gaza are cooking hundreds of thousands of meals each day like this mujadara, a comforting dish of rice, lentils, and caramelised onions.

A girl carries a canvas bag filled with food aid bearing the logo of non-profit World Central Kitchen in Rafah, southern Gaza, last month. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

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Opening summary

Welcome to our live coverage of a reported air strike on a convoy in central Gaza that has killed four foreign nationals, according to the territory’s health officials. Here’s what we know so far:

  • The Israeli military said it was investigating after nationals from UK, Australia and Poland who were working for the World Central Kitchen were reportedly in the convoy that was struck.

  • The nationality of a fourth aid worker was not immediately known. A Palestinian translator was also reportedly killed.

  • The group were travelling in a convoy that was hit south of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, local officials said.

  • The media office of the Hamas-run government of Gaza reported the deaths late on Monday.

  • Footage showed the bodies of the five dead at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Several of them wore protective body armour with the charity’s logo. Hospital staff showed the passports of three of the dead – British, Australian and Polish.

  • The source of strike could not be independently confirmed.

  • World Central Kitchen said: “This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should never be a target.”

  • A spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces, Avichay Adraee, said it was “conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”.

  • Medical officials said the group had been helping to deliver food and other supplies to northern Gaza that had arrived hours early by ship.

We’ll bring you all the latest developments on the story as they come to light.


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