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Israel-Hamas war: 7 World Central Kitchen aid workers killed in Gaza strike; Netanyahu says Israeli forces ‘unintentionally hit innocent people’

The food aid group said it was immediately pausing operations in the region after the incident, which killed a number of foreign nationals, including a U.S.-Canada dual citizen.

What we know

  • World Central Kitchen said it was pausing aid efforts in the Gaza Strip after seven of its workers were killed in what it said was an Israeli airstrike. The U.S.-based nonprofit group said its team was traveling in two armored cars bearing its logo and had coordinated its movements with the Israeli military.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "unfortunately, in the last day there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip." The Israel Defense Forces said earlier it would investigate the incident, which killed a number of foreign nationals, including a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada.
  • World Central Kitchen is one of the few groups delivering much-needed food to the Palestinian enclave, where aid agencies have warned that half of the population is on the brink of famine. Cyprus said ships carrying some 240 tons of food were turning back after the incident.
  • Tehran has vowed retaliation after it blamed Israel for an airstrike that destroyed the Iranian Embassy in Syria and killed a senior military commander yesterday. The Biden administration communicated directly to Iran that the U.S. didn’t know about the strike and wasn’t involved in any way, two U.S. officials told NBC News.
  • The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 32,900, according to the enclave's Health Ministry. Another 75,000 people have been reported injured. The Israeli military said at least 256 soldiers have been killed since the ground invasion of Gaza began.

Israel calls strike that killed aid workers a 'grave mistake'

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military chief says a deadly Israeli strike that killed seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip was the result of a “misidentification” in complex conditions.

Announcing the results of a preliminary investigation early Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi expressed remorse over the killings and called the event a “grave mistake.”

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification — at night during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened,” he said. He gave no further details.

He said an independent body would conduct a “thorough investigation” that would be completed in the coming days.

‘It was devastating’: Former World Central Kitchen director questions why colleagues were in the area before deadly strike

Tom Llamas

Josh Phelps, the former director of relief operations at World Central Kitchen, mourned the death of his former colleague Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, who was killed in an airstrike in Gaza.?

“What is troublesome is that layers of management didn’t stop her from going there," Phelps said, adding that "as we all grieve and we are grieving, hopefully the organization takes a step back to do a review on what they are doing with these people who just want to make the world and the organization proud and serve people."

Biden criticizes Israel for not doing 'enough to protect aid workers'

In a statement tonight, Biden said he was "outraged and heartbroken" by the deaths of World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza, taking aim at Israel for not doing enough to protect civilians or aid workers.

The statement was one of his harshest criticisms of Israel since the war began.

"This is a major reason why distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult — because Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians," Biden said. "Incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen.?Israel has?also?not done enough to protect civilians.

"The United States has repeatedly urged Israel to deconflict their military operations?against Hamas?with humanitarian operations?in order to?avoid civilian?casualties," he added.

Biden also said the White House would "continue to press Israel to do more to facilitate" humanitarian aid in Gaza.

Read the full story here.

U.S. airman launches hunger strike outside the White House

Mosheh Gains

Courtney Kube and Mosheh Gains

An active-duty airman began a hunger strike outside the White House at midnight Monday in protest of Palestinians starving in Gaza.?

Lawrence David Hebert Jr. is on leave from his duty station in Rota, Spain, according to the Air Force, in which he serves as an integrated avionics journeyman.?

Hebert told?military.com?that he was inspired by the airman who set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy this year and that he will limit himself to water and a juice supplement for as long as he physically can.?

He has been in the Air Force since Sept. 4, 2018, according to his service record, and his rank is senior airman (E4). He has a number of awards and decorations, including the good conduct medal, the humanitarian service medal and the Air Force achievement medal.?

An Air Force spokesperson said Herbert’s actions are under review.

World Central Kitchen IDs 7 aid workers killed in strike

World Central Kitchen today identified seven of its aid workers who were killed in an airstrike by Israel’s armed forces.

They were: relief workers Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, a 25-year-old Palestinian; Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, a 43-year-old Australian; Damian Soból, a 35-year-old from Poland; and Jacob Flickinger, a 33-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada.

The agency said security team members John Chapman, 57, James (Jim) Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47, all from the United Kingdom, were also killed.

"These are the heroes of World Central Kitchen. These 7 beautiful souls were killed by the IDF in a strike as they were returning from a full day’s mission," CEO Erin Gore said.

"Their smiles, laughter, and voices are forever embedded in our memories. And we have countless memories of them giving their best selves to the world. We are reeling from our loss. The world’s loss.”

Palestinian killed in strike wanted to help other Gazans, his brother says

The Associated Press

Saif Issam Abu Taha, 27, had worked for World Central Kitchen as a driver and translator since the beginning of the year, relatives said.

His brothers described him as a dedicated young man eager to?help fellow Palestinians.

He’d also been a successful businessman who conducted trade with Ukraine, Egypt, China and other countries, said his brother Abdul Razzaq Abu Taha.

His work made him known on the Israeli side, which helped with coordination and in getting approval to assist the World Central Kitchen team in unloading a ship, the brother said.

Saif and other workers were excited?about unloading?the?desperately needed food, his brother said. The last time he and Saif spoke, they had finished the job and Saif was heading home.

After hearing about the airstrike, Abdul Razzaq Abu Taha tried to call Saif to make sure he was OK.

After many attempts, he said, a stranger answered Saif's phone and told him, “I found this phone about 200 meters away from the car. All of the people inside are killed.”

World Central Kitchen says Israeli sniper fired at truck days before airstrike

Gabe Joselow

Raf Sanchez

Gabe Joselow and Raf Sanchez

World Central Kitchen told NBC News it believes an Israeli sniper fired at one of its vehicles two days before an Israeli airstrike killed seven of its aid workers.

The bullet damaged a side mirror, and no one was injured. World Central Kitchen said it reported the incident to the Israeli military.?

NBC News has reached out to the Israeli military for comment. News of the shooting incident was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Trajectory of Israeli airstrike on World Central Kitchen convoy

The airstrike on a World Central Kitchen convoy in the Gaza Strip yesterday has raised questions about Israel's military practices in its war with Hamas.?

While Israeli officials have acknowledged the bombings, they have released few details. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged the country’s forces “unintentionally hit innocent people.”?

“It happens in war, we check it to the end, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again,” he said.?

NBC News geolocated three damaged aid vehicles abandoned along a 1.55 mile stretch of coastal highway in Gaza, using images posted by international photo agencies and cross-referencing with satellite imagery.?

In a?statement, WCK said the convoy was made up of three vehicles, two of which were armored and one of which had a soft back. The vehicles were traveling south on the al-Rashid Road near WCK’s headquarters in Deir al-Balah, a Palestinian city in the central Gaza Strip.

The coastal road was designated accessible for humanitarian aid by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs?in March.??

The northernmost vehicle, which lies just south of the Port of Deir al-Balah, appears to have suffered fire damage. The hood, trunk and doors are open and there are visible burn marks on the ground.?A photo?shows fire damage inside the vehicle, with charred World Central Kitchen stickers strewn on the floor and across the seats.

Read the full story here.

The international food aid charity said on April 2 it was pausing its Gaza aid operations after seven of its staff were killed in a "targeted Israeli strike" as they unloaded desperately needed food aid delivered by sea from Cyprus.
A World Central Kitchen vehicle that was hit by an Israeli strike yesterday in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.AFP - Getty Images

World Central Kitchen and the attack that killed 7 workers

World Central Kitchen caters catastrophes.

An international relief organization that provides sustenance to both victims and first responders at humanitarian disasters around the world, the group was?thrust unwillingly into a tragic spotlight?yesterday when seven of its aid workers operating in Gaza were killed by an Israeli airstrike.

The victims included a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, as well as team members from Poland, Britain and Australia, and a Palestinian driver.

Calling the victims “angels,” Spanish American celebrity chef and WCK founder José Andrés called on the Israeli government to?“stop this indiscriminate killing.”

In the wake of the deadly attack, WCK suspended operations at the 68 “community kitchens” it had been operating in Gaza for the last six months. The group says it has provided more than?43 million meals?to Palestinians during that time.

Read the full story here.

Volunteers of World Central Kitchen cook food for Palestinians in a mobile kitchen, in Rafah, Gaza
Volunteers of World Central Kitchen cook food for Palestinians in a mobile kitchen, in Rafah, Gaza, on Feb.21. Jehad Alshrafi / Anadolu via Getty Images file

Norwegian aid group to stay in Gaza after deadly strike

The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the aid groups on the ground in Gaza, said today that they would not suspend operations in the enclave.

Speaking out after the strike that killed seven aid workers with World Central Kitchen yesterday, Jan Egeland, the group's secretary general, told NBC News in a phone interview that the aid group still has 60 workers on the ground in Gaza.

Monday’s strike was “shocking,” Egeland said, particularly because the aid workers notified the IDF about their movements. It could severely undermine future efforts to bring aid into Gaza, he said.

“We already have too few organizations with real capacity on the ground,” Egeland said. “This is another blow to a lifeline to 2 million defenseless and starving civilians.”

Reports of anti-Muslim bias hit record levels after start of Israel-Hamas war, group says

The Council on American Islamic Relations said it received the highest number of bias reports in its 30-year history in 2023.

A report released Tuesday from the Muslim civil rights organization CAIR shows it got 8,061 complaints nationally last year from Muslims who said they experienced discrimination or hate incidents.

It was the largest number the group has ever received and represents a 56% increase from 2022, the report said.

It was also more than what was reported in the aftermath of 9/11, when anti-Muslim sentiment was at a peak in the U.S., said Corey Saylor, CAIR’s research and advocacy director. He pointed out that CAIR was a smaller organization then, and fewer people may have known they could report.

Nearly half of all complaints in 2023 came in the final three months of the year, after the start of the Israel-Hamas war. The report cites the war as the primary force behind heightened Islamophobia.?

Saylor said “both parties” —?Democrats and Republicans — “have indulged in rhetoric stereotyping and dehumanizing Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.”

Read the full story here.

Biden called chef José Andrés with promise to make aid worker safety 'clear' to Israel, White House says

President Joe Biden called chef José Andrés to share that he was "heartbroken" over the Israeli airstrike that killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers working in Gaza.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters today that Biden expressed his condolences to the World Central Kitchen founder. Biden expressed to Andrés that he was grieving alongside the organization's members.

"The president felt it was important to recognize the tremendous contribution World Center Kitchen has made to the people in Gaza, and people around the world," Jean-Pierre said. "The president conveyed he will make clear to Israel that humanitarian aid workers must be protected."

John Kirby, White House national security spokesperson, then took the podium to add that U.S. officials were "outraged" over the strike. He described World Central Kitchen as "relentless" in its work to feed civilians in Gaza.

"More than 200 aid workers have been killed in this conflict, making it one of the worst for aid workers in recent history," Kirby said. "This incident is emblematic of a larger problem and evidence of why distribution of aid in Gaza has been so challenging."

Pressed by reporters, Kirby was questioned on how the U.S. could continue to send weapons to Israel without conditions following Kirby's own comments on the problems ensuring safety for workers and civilians. He said the White House has urged Israel to protect civilian life but that it is "still under viable threat from Hamas."

"I know you want us to hang some sort of condition over their neck," Kirby said. "And what I'm telling you is, we continue to work with the Israelis to make sure that they are as precise as they can be and that more aid is coming in, and we're going to continue to take that approach."

NBC News

NBC News filmed at Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, where the bodies of seven World Central Kitchen workers were taken after an Israeli airstrike in Deir al-Balah.

U.N. chief condemns attack on Iranian consulate building in Syria

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned yesterday's attack on an Iranian consulate building in Damascus, according to a statement from his spokesperson's office.

The statement from Guterres' office noted that "diplomatic and consular premises" should remain protected in accordance with international law.

"He also reminds all parties to respect all their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, as applicable," the statement said. "He also repeats his calls on all concerned to avoid attacks that could harm civilians and damage civilian infrastructure."

Iranian officials blamed Israel for a strike on an ambassador residence and consular building near Iran's embassy in Syria yesterday. Two commanders and five members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. were killed in the strike.

Israeli officials have not confirmed whether they were responsible.

'Selfless people': UNICEF spokesperson visited WCK before aid workers killed

NBC News

UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told MSNBC's José Díaz-Balart that he had visited the World Central Kitchen in Gaza over the weekend, describing the deaths of seven aid workers as "so senseless."

"These are just selfless people who literally just travel around the world to do everything they possibly can in a situation that's so spiraling, absolutely out of control," he said. "It's just yet another devastating loss."

Elder shared a photo of a World Central Kitchen building on X, and said the workers' deaths were a "senseless tragedy" and a "grim reminder of daily threats to civilians & aid workers."

‘I kept on saying goodbye’: Gaza hospital reports rise in stillbirths and neonatal deaths

TEL AVIV — When Mai Kamal Zaqout learned she was pregnant in December, she and her husband, Ahmad, felt something they hadn’t experienced in many weeks?in Gaza: happiness — a glimmer of optimism amid?the war’s?devastation and despair.

Zaqout, 22, said Ahmad placed his hand on her belly and told her: “This is it. She is our last hope.”

But within months, that hope was shattered. Ahmad, 29, was killed in an airstrike.

Then Zaqout fled south to Rafah, where more than a million people have sought refuge, in hopes of giving birth to her daughter in safety.

But Zaqout fell ill, weak from a lack of food and clean drinking water. Already grieving, she received another devastating blow seven months into her pregnancy: Her baby no longer had a heartbeat.?

“I didn’t understand. I started crying and screaming,” she told an NBC News crew on the ground late last month.

Doctors in Gaza and humanitarian groups told NBC News that Zaqout is one of a growing number of women who have lost their pregnancies or had complications, another dire consequence of the war.

Read the full story here.

Her baby was stillborn in March.

White House downsizing iftar event to private Biden meeting with Muslim leaders, sources say

President Joe Biden plans to hold a quiet, dramatically downsized iftar gathering tonight after invitations were declined by several Muslim American community leaders, according to two sources familiar with the planning.

Rather than host hundreds of people for a public reception, as the president has in years past to mark Ramadan and Eid, two smaller White House events are not on his public schedule and he won’t deliver remarks on camera.?Instead, Biden will host a small meeting with Muslim community members tonight to “discuss issues of importance to the community,” according to a White House official.

The discussion, which will take place behind closed doors, will be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as senior administration officials and senior members of the president’s national security team, the official said.?

Afterward, Biden and Harris will host a small iftar dinner with a number of senior Muslim administration officials, a scaled-back version of an event related to Ramadan, compared to past years.?

The tensions come amid deepening tensions with the Muslim American and Arab American communities over the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.?

Some people who were invited to attend the White House events flatly declined, according to the sources familiar with the planning, who said the invitees did not feel comfortable taking part in any kind of celebration with the president while many Palestinians are currently facing starvation and malnutrition.?

World Central Kitchen staff wait at Rafah morgue

Max Butterworth

World Central Kitchen employees wait at a hospital morgue in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip today, a day after an Israeli airstrike hit the NGO's convoy, killing seven people.

The international food aid charity said on April 2 it was pausing its Gaza aid operations after seven of its staff were killed in a "targeted Israeli strike" as they unloaded desperately needed food aid delivered by sea from Cyprus.
Said Khatib / AFP - Getty Images

Israel must do a better job communicating, U.S official says

WASHINGTON — The White House overall is “quite concerned” about the convoy attack that killed seven members of the World Central Kitchen team in Gaza, a U.S. official told NBC News today.

"We’re troubled by it,” the official said.

“The Israeli government must do a better job” of protecting humanitarian aid workers, the official said, “especially when those workers had deconflicted with the Israelis in advance.”

The White House is glad the Israelis are doing a thorough investigation and re-emphasized its position that humanitarian aid workers must be protected, especially when they have deconflicted with the Israeli government.

This official said different parts of the Israeli government must do a better job of communicating among themselves.

“Either the Israeli government did not communicate it to the right people in the military or it was not respected — either way, that’s concerning,” the official said.

Israeli ambassador summoned by British foreign office

Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom was summoned to discuss the deaths of seven aid workers in Gaza including three British citizens, the U.K.'s foreign office said today.

Minister Andrew Mitchell said he laid out the U.K.’s unequivocal condemnation on the strike to Tzipi Hotovely and demanded that Israel conduct a “transparent investigation” that is shared with “full accountability.”

"I reiterated the need for Israel to put in place an effective deconfliction mechanism immediately and urgently to scale up humanitarian access," he said in a statement. "We need to see an immediate humanitarian pause, to get aid in and the hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable ceasefire."

Middle East aid group says it is taking 'unprecedented step' in pausing Gaza operations

Josh Lederman

American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera) is pausing its Gaza operations, it said today, following the attack on World Central Kitchen workers in Deir-al-Balah.

"Following the Israeli attack on a humanitarian aid convoy yesterday, resulting in the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers, Anera is taking the unprecedented step of pausing its humanitarian operations in Gaza," the organization told NBC News.

The organization posted just yesterday that it had served 77,300 hot meals across Gaza and received seven trucks to its warehouse in Rafah.

Blinken says aid workers are heroes who 'have to be protected'

Abigail Williams

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. has pushed Israel for answers following the strike that killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers.

U.S. officials have spoken to the Israeli government about the strike and urged a thorough investigation, he said following a meeting in Paris with French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné. The State Department confirmed today that a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen was killed in the strike.

He described aid workers as "heroes" who are simply trying to help their fellow human beings.

"They run into the fire, not away from it," Blinken added. "They show the best of what humanity has to offer when the going really gets tough. They have to be protected.”

Séjourné also offered firm condemnation of the strike, saying that "nothing justifies such a tragedy."

U.S. in touch with Israel about strike on Gaza aid workers, official says

WASHINGTON —?U.S. officials have been in touch with Israeli officials directly about the strike that killed seven aid workers in Gaza yesterday, a U.S. official tells NBC News.?

Washington said in a statement earlier that it was “heartbroken and deeply troubled by the strike."

"Humanitarian aid workers must be protected as they deliver aid that is desperately needed, and we urge Israel to swiftly investigate what happened,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in the statement.

People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed.
People inspect the site today where World Central Kitchen workers were killed yesterday in Deir al-Balah, Gaza.Abdel Kareem Hana / AP

Funeral held for World Central Kitchen worker in Rafah

Max Butterworth

Relatives and friends carry the body of a worker for the U.S.-based aid group World Central Kitchen, during his funeral in the southern Gaza city of Rafah today.

World Central Kitchen Aid Worker Funeral
Said Khatib / AFP - Getty Images

Senior Iranian leaders condemn Syria strike

Henry Austin and Reuters

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi have vowed revenge on Israel for a strike on the embassy compound in Syria’s capital, Damascus, yesterday that killed two of its top generals and five other military advisers.

Israel “will be punished by the hands of our brave men. We will make it regret this crime and others it has committee,” Khamenei said in a statement.

In a post on X, Khamenei’s political adviser, Ali Shamkhani, said the United States “remains directly responsible whether or not it was aware of the intention to carry out this attack.”

Separately, Raisi said the “cowardly crime will not go unanswered,” in a statement on his office’s website. Israel, he said, had “put blind assassinations on its agenda in the struggle to save itself.”

Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack, which destroyed a consular building adjacent to the main embassy building last night.

 Emergency and security personnel inspect the rubble at the site of strikes which hit a building next to the Iranian embassy in Syria's capital Damascus, on April 1, 2024.
Louai Beshara / AFP - Getty Images

240 tons of Gaza aid returning to Cyprus after aid workers' deaths

Gabe Joselow

The Associated Press

Gabe Joselow and The Associated Press

Much of the humanitarian aid that was shipped by World Central Kitchen to Gaza is returning to Cyprus following the deaths of the charity's aid workers yesterday.

Three aid ships arrived in the Palestinian enclave yesterday carrying some 400 tons of food and supplies organized by the charity, a second shipment following a?pilot run last month.

But Cypriot Foreign Ministry spokesman Theodoros Gotsis confirmed to NBC News today?that about “two thirds” of the undelivered aid shipment, or around 240 tons, is now returning to Cyprus.

It follows World Central Kitchen announcing this morning that it was pausing its operations in the region. It's a huge blow to the already complicated efforts to deliver more aid to Gaza by air and sea.

Israel says new cease-fire proposal drafted as team leaves Cairo talks

An Israeli delegation has ended another round of talks in Cairo and will leave the Egyptian capital today, the prime minister's office said in a statement.

Negotiators have drafted "an up-to-date proposal for Hamas to address," the statement said, adding that Israel expects meditators to "work harder with Hamas to promote negotiations in favor of a deal."

The delegation comprised members of the Israeli intelligence agency, security agency and the IDF.

Netanyahu refers to 'tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip'

Yarden Segev

TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken as he left a hospital where he underwent what he said was a successful hernia operation.

"Unfortunately, in the last day there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip," Netanyahu said.

"It happens in war, we check it to the end, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again."

It was not immediately clear whether Netanyahu was referring to the strike on the World Central Kitchen aid workers, which the Israeli military has said it is probing. NBC News has reached out to his office for clarification.

A man displays British, Polish, and Australian passports next to the bodies of World Central Kitchen workers at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on April 1, 2024.
A man displays British, Polish, and Australian passports next to the bodies of World Central Kitchen workers at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, Monday night.AFP - Getty Images

José Andrés speaks out on deaths of aid workers in Gaza

Raf Sanchez

TEL AVIV — Several workers delivering humanitarian aid for World Central Kitchen have been killed in a reported Israeli airstrike. The group’s founder, chef José Andrés, released a statement about the tragedy.?

'Not an isolated incident': U.N. says aid worker deaths a troubling trend

The United Nations aid coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory warned today that the deadly strike that killed seven aid workers in Gaza is part of a troubling trend that has seen a record number of humanitarian workers killed since the Hamas-Israel war broke out.

"This is not an isolated incident," Jamie McGoldrick said in a statement. "As of March 20, at least 196 humanitarians had been killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since Oct. 2023. This is nearly three times the death toll recorded in any single conflict in a year."

He said he was "extremely saddened and appalled" by the incident, as he said the territory has become one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places to work. "There is no safe place left in Gaza," he added.

Japan says it is resuming funding for UNRWA

Arata Yamamoto

Veronica Lin

Arata Yamamoto and Veronica Lin

TOKYO — Japan said it would resume funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency, after suspending it in January over allegations that agency staff were involved in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

About $35 million in funding that was already planned will be released to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said today.

Japan, the agency’s sixth-largest donor, had joined the U.S. and more than two dozen other countries in withdrawing support after the Israeli allegations, which remain under investigation. Several countries including Australia, Canada and Sweden have since restored funding as the agency works to regain trust.

UNRWA has been implementing measures to improve its governance?and Japan will continue to confirm the appropriate use of its funds, Kamikawa said, noting the “essential” role the agency plays in providing humanitarian assistance.

IDF says it will open probe into strike, expresses condolences

Yarden Segev

The Israeli military says it will open a full probe into the strike that killed World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza and had called the group's founder, chef José Andrés, to offer condolences.

“Last night, an incident took place in Gaza that resulted in the tragic death of World Central Kitchen employees as they fulfilled their vital mission of bringing food to people in need. As a professional military committed to international law, we are committed to examining our operations thoroughly and transparently," IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said in a video statement this morning.

"We also express sincere sorrow to our allied nations who have been doing and continue to do so much to assist those in need," he said.

"We have been reviewing the incident at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of what happened and how it happened. We will be opening a probe to examine this serious incident further. This will help us reduce the risk of such an event from occurring again," Hagari added.

"We will get to the bottom of this and we will share our findings transparently.”

Australian prime minister demands ‘full accountability’ for aid worker’s death

Veronica Lin

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese demanded “full accountability” for the death of an Australian aid worker in Gaza who was one of at least seven killed yesterday in what a nongovernmental organization says was an Israeli airstrike on its convoy.

Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom was working for World Central Kitchen, a U.S.-based nonprofit providing food to the Palestinian enclave amid warnings of famine.

“This is someone who was volunteering overseas to provide aid through this charity, for people who are suffering tremendous deprivation in Gaza,” Albanese told reporters today. “And this is just completely unacceptable.”

Albanese said Australia had contacted the Israeli government to demand accountability. He also reiterated Australia’s call for a sustainable cease-fire in Gaza.

Photos show three aid vehicles hit by deadly strike

Max Butterworth

Three World Central Kitchen vehicles involved in the strike that killed seven of its employees in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, last night are pictured by the roadside in the aftermath of the attack this morning.

The international food aid charity said on April 2 it was pausing its Gaza aid operations after seven of its staff were killed in a "targeted Israeli strike" as they unloaded desperately needed food aid delivered by sea from Cyprus.
AFP - Getty Images

A projectile appears to have ripped through a vehicle marked with the number "1" on it's windshield, leaving a large hole in the roof, striking directly through the center of the charity's logo.Another vehicle sits completely destroyed with its hood flung open, only the charred remains left by the roadside. Fuel soaks the ground surrounding the scene, as its dented panels and doors are left scorched.

The international food aid charity said on April 2 it was pausing its Gaza aid operations after seven of its staff were killed in a "targeted Israeli strike" as they unloaded desperately needed food aid delivered by sea from Cyprus.
AFP - Getty Images

A third white SUV is abandoned in what appears to be a nearby field, missing a its front wheel and with all doors open. Remnants of high-visibility clothing and other items from inside the vehicle are strewn across the floor.

World Central Kitchen vehicles struck in Gaza
AFP via Getty Images

Family mourns 'brave and beloved' Australian aid worker killed in strike

Mahalia Dobson

The family of an Australian food aid worker killed in the Gaza airstrike has released a statement saying it was " deeply mourning" its "brave and beloved Zomi.

Lalzawmi 'Zomi' Frankcom was among several foreign national aid workers killed when the World Central Kitchen convoy was hit yesterday.

“We are deeply mourning the news that our brave and beloved Zomi has been killed doing the work she loves delivering food to the people of Gaza. She was a kind, selfless and outstanding human being that has travelled the world helping others in their time of need," the family said.

"She will leave behind a legacy of compassion, bravery and love for all those in her orbit. We are still reeling from the shock, and we humbly request privacy during this difficult time.”?

7 World Central Kitchen workers killed in airstrike

Nikolai Miller

World Central Kitchen said at least seven of its members were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. Video captured the moments when paramedics were seen moving bodies into a hospital.

U.S. tells Iran it didn’t know about plans for Israeli strike on consulate

Carol E. LeeCarol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.

The Biden administration communicated directly to Iran yesterday that the U.S. didn’t know about the strike on its consulate in Damascus and wasn’t involved in any way, according to two U.S. officials.?

Two other U.S. officials said the administration was told about the operation in Syria while Israeli planes were in the air but didn’t know what the target was.?

“The United States had no involvement in the strike, and we did not know about it ahead of time,” a spokesperson for the National Security Council said in a statement.?

U.S. officials still don’t have independent confirmation that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Mohammed Reza Zahedi was among those killed in the strike, according to two additional U.S. officials.?

Israeli officials have declined to comment on the strike.

World Central Kitchen says 7 workers killed in Israeli airstrike; IDF says it's reviewing the incident

World Central Kitchen has said seven of its members were killed in an airstrike carried out by the Israel Defense Forces, and that it was pausing its operations in Gaza.

The members of the aid group were traveling in a “soft skin” vehicle and two armored cars with the World Central Kitchen logo on them when they were struck yesterday, the organization?said in a statement. The group added that the convoy was hit despite having coordinated its movements with the IDF, and that members at the time were leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where they had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid.

“This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore said.

"The seven killed are from Australia, Poland, United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, and Palestine," the aid group said.

The IDF said it was "conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident."

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