World Central Kitchen resumes operations in Gaza

World Central Kitchen resumed operations in the Gaza Strip on Sunday with a team of local Palestinian aid workers, nearly a month after Israeli forces killed seven of its staff in a drone strike on a convoy. Then he announced.

Israeli military officials said the attack was a “grave mistake” and cited a series of failures, including communication breakdowns and violations of military operational procedures.

The Washington-based aid group is still calling for an independent international investigation into the April 1 attack, saying it has received no “concrete assurances” that Israeli military operating procedures have changed. . But “the humanitarian situation in Gaza remains dire,” said Erin Gore, the aid group’s chief operating officer. statement.

“We will reopen with the same energy and dignity and focus on feeding as many people as possible,” she said.

Aid groups say they have distributed more than 43 million meals in the Gaza Strip and that trucks carrying the equivalent of nearly 8 million meals are waiting to enter the enclave through the Rafah crossing in the south. . World Central Kitchen also plans to send a truck to the Gaza Strip via Jordan, to Al Mawashi, a small coastal village that the Israeli military has designated as a safe “humanitarian zone” for civilians. He said he plans to open a kitchen. continued.

Of the seven workers killed on April 1, six were from Western countries: three were British, one was Australian, one was Polish, and one was a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. was a person. The seventh person was Palestinian. They were killed in a series of vehicle attacks by Israeli drones as they moved toward Rafah after unloading food aid that had arrived by sea.

The attack prompted World Central Kitchen to immediately suspend operations in the Gaza Strip and sparked anger from some of Israel’s closest allies.

The movement of the World Central Kitchen convoy had been pre-coordinated with the Israeli military, but some officers had not reviewed the coordination document detailing the vehicles that were part of the convoy, the statement said. the military said.

According to the United Nations, about 200 aid workers, mostly Palestinians, were killed in Gaza between October 7 and the attack on the World Central Kitchen convoy. A New York Times visual investigation found that well before the World Central Kitchen attack, six aid groups in the Gaza Strip were exposed to Israeli artillery fire despite sharing locations with Israeli forces. It has been found.

The incident forced World Central Kitchen to decide whether to halt its operations in Gaza or continue “in the face of threats and killings of donors, aid workers and civilians.” Gore said in a statement.

“Ultimately, we decided we had to keep feeding and continue our mission of feeding people in the most difficult of times,” she said.

At a memorial service for World Central Kitchen employees in Washington on Thursday, the organization’s founder and celebrity chef José Andrés said, “There are many questions about what happened and why it happened.” There are “unanswered questions” and aid groups are still calling for an independent investigation. influence the actions of the Israeli military.

Andres said the seven aid workers “risked everything to feed people they don’t know and will never see again.” “They were the best of humanity.”

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