World Central Kitchen halts Gaza work after 7 aid workers are killed during IDF attack

Boxed free meals from World Central Kitchen

After seven aid workers with the food-relief charity World Central Kitchen were killed during an Israel Defense Forces attack in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Tuesday his country’s forces had “unintentionally hit innocent people” in the Gaza Strip in the past day. Netanyahu said: “Israel deeply regrets the tragic incident which claimed the lives of seven humanitarian aid workers. Our hearts go out to their families and to their home countries. The IDF is conducting a swift and transparent investigation and we will make our findings public. Israel is fully committed to enabling humanitarian aid to reach the civilian population in Gaza and we will do everything in our power to ensure that such tragedies do not occur in the future.”

The U.S.-based nonprofit group, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, said it was immediately pausing its operations in the region and Cyprus, adding that ships carrying aid were turning back after the incident. Andrés wrote on X: “@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 are not faceless…they are not nameless. 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.”

World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore said in a statement:“World Central Kitchen is pausing operations immediately in the region. We will be making decisions about the future of our work soon …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.” The dead included Australian, Polish, British and Palestinian aid workers; one worker was a dual American-Canadian citizen, the organization said.

Per NBC News, Israel Defense Forces initially would not confirm that it was responsible for the deaths, and said that it would be opening a probe into the incident. However hours later Netanyahu said upon leaving a hospital (where he had undergone a hernia operation): “Unfortunately, in the last day, there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip. 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.

Editorial credit: VDB Photos /