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Aid charity to resume operations in Gaza following killing of seven aid workers | World News

An aid group is to resume its work in Gaza four weeks after suspending operations following the killing of seven workers.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) says it will restart operations in the besieged strip on Monday, delivering food to “address widespread hunger”, including in the north.

It comes following the killing of the WCK workers in an Israeli military strike on 1 April.

Three British nationals, who were part of WCK’s security team, an Australian, a Polish national, an American-Canadian dual citizen, and a Palestinian, were killed in the strike.

An Israeli investigation found that incorrect assumptions, decision-making mistakes and violations of the rules of engagement had resulted in their deaths.

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Pic: World Central Kitchen
Pic: World Central Kitchen

WCK suspended its operations in Gaza following their deaths. They had previously distributed more than 43 million meals in Gaza and accounted for more than 60% of all international non-governmental aid.

Erin Gore, the group’s chief executive, said the humanitarian situation in Gaza “remained dire”.

“We are restarting our operation with the same energy, dignity, and focus on feeding as many people as possible,” she said.

“We will continue to get as much food into Gaza, including northern Gaza, as possible – by land, air, or sea.”

She said despite assurances by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) of changes to their rules of operations in the wake of the workers’ deaths, their staff still faced the threat of being threatened or killed.

The  damaged vehicle where employees from the World Central Kitchen (WCK), including foreigners, were killed.
Pic: Reuters
The damaged vehicle where employees from the World Central Kitchen, including foreigners, were killed. Pic: Reuters

“We have been forced to make a decision: Stop feeding altogether during one of the worst hunger crises ever, ending our operation that accounted for 62% of all International non-governmental-organisation (NGO) aid, or keep feeding knowing that aid, aid workers and civilians are being intimidated and killed,” Ms Gore said.

“These are the hardest conversations, and we have considered all perspectives when deliberating.

“Ultimately, we decided we must keep feeding, continuing our mission of showing up to provide food to people during the toughest of times.”

Strikes on Rafah and Blinken’s visit

It comes as medics said 13 people had been killed in Israeli airstrikes on three houses in the southern city of Rafah on Monday.

The strikes on Rafah, where over a million people are sheltering from months of Israeli bombardment, came hours before Egypt was expected to host leaders of Hamas to discuss prospects for a ceasefire agreement with Israel.

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On Sunday, Hamas officials said a delegation, led by Khalil al Hayya, the group’s deputy Gaza chief, would discuss a ceasefire proposal handed by Hamas to mediators from Qatar and Egypt, as well as Israel’s response.

Mediators, backed by the US, have stepped up their efforts to conclude a deal amid threats by Israel to invade Rafah.

Meanwhile, US secretary of state Antony Blinken is beginning his seventh diplomatic mission to the Middle East since the Israel-Hamas war began more than six months ago.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gestures as he departs for Saudi Arabia in the latest Gaza diplomacy push, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Saturday, April 28, 2024. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP)
US secretary of state Antony Blinken leaves for Saudi Arabia. Pic: Evelyn Hockstein/Pool Photo via AP

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He will visit Saudi Arabia, where Arab and European foreign ministers have gathered in Riyadh for a meeting of the World Economic Forum, before making stops in Jordan and Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In Jordan and Israel, Mr Blinken will focus largely on aid, meeting with various relief organisations, as well as officials in both countries, to underscore the urgent need for more humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

On Sunday, the IDF said the amount of aid going into Gaza had increased “significantly” and would be scaled up “even more” in the coming days.

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said: “Getting aid to the people of Gaza is a top priority – because our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza.”