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Deadly Gaza strike a 'message from Israeli army': French NGO

According to a France-based NGO, the Israeli military's attack in Gaza resulted in the deaths of seven individuals working for US-based humanitarian group, World Central Kitchen. The NGO believes this was a deliberate act meant to convey a message.

Published April 02,2024

The Israeli strike that killed seven employees of US-based aid organisation World Central Kitchen in Gaza was "a message sent by the Israeli army", a France-based NGO said on Tuesday.

Since the October start of the war, World Central Kitchen has been involved in relief efforts, including supplying meals to famine-threatened Gaza.

It was one of two NGOs spearheading efforts to deliver aid to Gaza by boat from Cyprus and was also involved in the construction of a temporary jetty.

The organisation "was supposed to put into practice American and European proposals for humanitarian corridors to try to limit the risk of famine", Jean-Francois Corty, vice-president at Medecins du Monde, told French broadcaster FranceInfo.

World Central Kitchen said it was pausing operations after the "targeted Israeli strike" on Monday killed Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian staff.

"We can clearly see that the Israeli army is sending a message, including to the Europeans and Americans, who are trying to limit the catastrophe through state aid," said Corty.

"We can see that health workers, civilians and humanitarian aid workers are falling victim to indiscriminate bombing," he added.

"Hundreds of thousands of people are being subjected to an air and land blockade that is creating famine and is indicative of genocidal intent."

US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the White House was "deeply troubled by the strike".

The Israeli military said it was "conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident""

The bloodiest-ever Gaza war erupted after Hamas's October 7 attack, which resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Palestinian fighters also seized around 250 hostages. Israel believes about 130 remain in Gaza, including 34 presumed dead.

Israel's relentless retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,916 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Gaza is under a near-complete blockade, with the United Nations accusing Israel of preventing deliveries of humanitarian assistance to its population of 2.4 million.

UN agencies have warned repeatedly that northern Gaza is on the verge of a man-made famine.

UN special rapporteur Francesca Albanese said last week there were reasonable grounds to believe Israel was committing "genocide" against Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel has rejected the report by Albanese, a scholar in international law and human rights, as an "obscene inversion of reality".