World Central Kitchen Pauses Gaza Operations in Aftermath of Israeli Strike that Killed Aid Workers

The World Central Kitchen nonprofit founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres announced Tuesday that it is pausing all its operations in Gaza after seven of its food aid workers were killed by an “unforgivable”  The group said its team was “traveling in a deconflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle” in central Gaza on Monday when it resulting in the deaths of a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, a Palestinian worker and others from Australia, Poland and the United Kingdom. “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,” Israel’s chief military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said in a statement posted following the strike. World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore described the incident as “not only an attack against WCK,” but an “attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war” and that it is “unforgivable.”  The WCK said, “Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.” “World Central Kitchen is pausing our operations immediately in the region. We will be making decisions about the future of our work soon,” it also said.  National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson wrote on X that “we are heartbroken and deeply troubled by the strike that that killed WCKitchen aid workers in Gaza” and the U.S. urges “Israel to swiftly investigate what happened.”  Hagari, in his video statement, said he spoke to Andres and “expressed the deepest condolences of Israel Defense Forces to the families in the entire World Central Kitchen family. “We also expressed sincere sorrow to our allied nations who have been doing and continue to do so much to assist those in need,” he continued. “We have been reviewing the incident in 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.” Hagari noted how WCK was one of the first NGOs to come to Israel’s aid following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which launched the ongoing war. “The work of WCK is critical, they are the front lines of humanity,” he said.