They were preparing food for the needy in Gaza, they were killed by Israeli missiles

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At the end of March, humanitarian worker Zomi Frankcomová from World Central Kitchen (WCK) described on social networks how she works in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

With a smile – and with the help of the chef, whom she addresses as Oli in the video – the 43-year-old Australian woman describes how thousands of portions of rice with beef and vegetables are prepared for the needy in a newly built temporary kitchen in the city of Deir al-Balah.

On Monday, she lost her life along with six other humanitarian workers. In addition to her, workers from Great Britain, Poland, Palestine and one with dual American-Canadian citizenship died in the Israeli shelling.

According to reports so far, the attack took place on Monday evening. WCK Executive Director Erin Gore said her people were traveling “in the deconfliction zone” together in three cars. Two of them bore the WCK logo.

According to Gore, the seven-member team was just leaving a warehouse in Deir al-Balah, where they had unloaded over 100 tons of food aid that had arrived in the Gaza Strip by sea.

The movement of aid workers was coordinated with the Israeli army, according to the charity.

World Central Kitchen

  • The charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) delivers food aid to Gaza and its staff also prepare meals for those in need.
  • Together with the Spanish NGO Open Arms, it organizes the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip via the maritime corridor from Cyprus. The organization delivered around 330 tons of aid in three ships to the Gaza Strip on Saturday.
  • In response to the attack, WCK decided to suspend its activities in the territory.

The Israelis initially denied responsibility for the incident, but the army said it would investigate.

Israeli Armed Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari subsequently reported that he called the founder of the WCK charity to offer his condolences. “We’ll get to the bottom of it and share our findings transparently.”

Condolences also come from high-ranking representatives from the world, multinational agencies and humanitarian organizations.

Three times

The details that led to the Israeli army’s attack on the humanitarian convoy are described, for example, by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. According to his findings, the IDF even attacked three times.

The group, which was responsible for the security of the road along which the convoy was traveling, reportedly saw an armed man they suspected to be a terrorist. It was supposed to be a car that was heading to the warehouse, but it wasn’t coming back with a convoy of three. The cars traveled along the route that the WCK confirmed to the Israeli troops.

Nevertheless, the Israelis attacked one of the vehicles on the way back. The Haaretz article further states that part of the crew of the first car that was hit escaped and boarded the other two. Although they managed to inform their superiors about the incident, a second car was hit shortly afterwards. The workers then began to move the injured to the third car, which was also hit in the end.

None of the seven people survived.

About the humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Stories of children dying of malnutrition

Testimony of a Czech pharmacist who spent a month in Gaza

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“That’s What Happens in War”

One of the first victims whose name the world learned is the aforementioned Zomi Frankcom, who worked for WCK for five years.

“We are deeply saddened by the news that our brave and beloved Zomi has been killed doing the job she loved, delivering food to the people of Gaza,” Britain’s The Guardian quoted the family as saying. For example, even the local political elites reacted, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Another victim is Polish humanitarian worker Damian Sobol. On Tuesday morning, he was identified by the mayor of Przemysl, where he came from. “Yesterday, during a rocket attack by Israeli forces on a humanitarian convoy delivering food in the Gaza Strip, our colleague, volunteer, member of the World Central Kitchen team – Damian Sobol was killed,” he wrote on Facebook.

The Polish government has already offered its condolences to the family. Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said he had already spoken to Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne, and is asking for an explanation, according to Britain’s BBC.

Friends and colleagues said on social media that Sobol was involved in, among other things, the delivery of aid to Ukrainian refugees after the Russian invasion in February 2022.

The country whose citizens died in the shelling said it was investigating the incident and would demand answers from Israel. Czech government officials have so far left Monday’s attack without reacting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later admitted the attack was a mistake, calling it “senseless”. “It was a tragic case where our forces inadvertently hit innocent people in the Gaza Strip. This is what happens in war and we will investigate it thoroughly. We are in touch with the governments involved and will do everything we can to ensure this does not happen again,” he said.

“The Israeli government must stop this indiscriminate killing. They must stop cutting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent victims,” ​​declared World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés following the death of his colleagues.


The article is in Czech

Tags: preparing food needy Gaza killed Israeli missiles

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