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Seven aid workers killed in Israeli airstrike

CAIRO: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that an Israeli airstrike killed seven people working for the aid charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) in Gaza and termed it unintended and “tragic”.
The incident drew widespread condemnation and ratcheted up pressure for steps to ease the disastrous humanitarian situation in Gaza after nearly six months of war, Reuters news agency reported.
The strike on the WCK convoy killed citizens of Australia, Britain and Poland as well as Palestinians and a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.
WCK, which was founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres, said they had been travelling in two armoured cars emblazoned with the charity’s logo and another vehicle.
“Unfortunately in the past day there was a tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.
This happens in war. We are conducting a thorough inquiry and are in contact with the governments. We will do everything to prevent a recurrence.”
Britain summoned Israel’s ambassador in London to express its “unequivocal condemnation of the appalling killing” of the WCK workers, three of whom were British nationals.
“Israel must urgently explain how this happened and make major changes to ensure safety of aid workers on the ground,” British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in a post on X.
Israel has long denied accusations that it is hindering the distribution of urgently needed food aid in Gaza, which it has besieged in a war since October, saying the problem is caused by international aid groups’ inability to get it to those in need.
Despite coordinating movements with the Israeli military, the convoy was hit as it was leaving its Deir al-Balah warehouse after unloading more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza by sea, WCK said.
“This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organisations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war,” said Erin Gore, chief executive of World Central Kitchen.
“This is unforgivable.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington had spoken directly to close ally Israel’s government and “urged a swift, thorough and impartial investigation to understand exactly what happened”.
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