World Central Kitchen to resume Gaza aid after staff deaths in Israeli strike

By Thomson Reuters Apr 28, 2024 | 10:52 AM

NICOSIA (Reuters) – World Central Kitchen (WCK) said it would resume operations in the Gaza Strip on Monday, a month after seven workers of the U.S.-based charity were killed in an Israeli air strike.

Prior to halting operations, WCK had distributed more than 43 million meals in Gaza since October, representing by its own accounts 62% of all international NGO aid.

The charity said it had 276 trucks with the equivalent of almost 8 million meals ready to enter through the Rafah Crossing and will also send trucks into Gaza from Jordan.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains dire,” said the charity’s chief executive officer Erin Gore. “We are restarting our operation with the same energy, dignity, and focus on feeding as many people as possible.”

The April 1 deaths triggered widespread condemnation and demands from Israel’s allies, including the U.S., for an explanation.

Israel said its inquiries had found serious errors and breaches of procedure by its military, dismissing two senior officers and reprimanding senior commanders.

WCK is demanding an independent investigation.

Israel’s six-month war against Hamas in Gaza followed an Oct. 7 attack by the militant group in southern Israel when more than 250 hostages were seized and some 1,200 people killed, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s offensive has killed more than 34,000 people, Palestinian health authorities say, and caused a humanitarian disaster for the enclave’s more than 2 million inhabitants.

“We have been forced to make a decision: Stop feeding altogether during one of the worst hunger crises ever…Or keep feeding knowing that aid, aid workers and civilians are being intimidated and killed,” Gore said.

“These are the hardest conversations, and we have considered all perspectives when deliberating. Ultimately, we decided we must keep feeding, continuing our mission of showing up to provide food to people during the toughest of times.”

(Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)