Workers in chef José Andres’ humanitarian food group killed in airstrike in Gaza

People move a gurney with a person on it covered by a piece of cloth.

Palestinians carry the body of a person following an airstrike at the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, on April 1. Reports say an apparent Israeli airstrike killed international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen charity and a Palestinian driver.
(Abdel Kareem Hana / Associated Press)

Multiple members of the international nonprofit World Central Kitchen were killed in an apparent Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Monday during efforts to feed thousands facing starvation, according to chef José Andrés, founder of the group.

Unconfirmed media reports and statements by officials in Gaza said at least four aid workers were killed in the strike south of Deir Al Balah, a city in central Gaza. Photos and videos circulated on social media showing bodies and passports — some bloodied — from Poland, the United Kingdom and Australia, reportedly belonging to the deceased members of the World Central Kitchen team deployed in Gaza.

Andrés could not be reached for comment, nor could the Israel Defense Forces.

“Today @WCKitchen [World Central Kitchen] lost several of our sisters and brothers in an IDF air strike in Gaza,” Andrés posted to the social media platform X. “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,” the chef continued. “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.”

Andrés had called for a cease-fire via social media on Dec. 10 along with an “end of hostilities,” one of the most prominent voices in the global food community to do so.

Andrés’ organization administers free meals, water and other resources to crisis zones around the world in the wake of war and natural disaster. In March, World Central Kitchen collected roughly 200 tons of food and, with the aid of Spanish humanitarian group Open Arms, shipped out to Gaza to deliver the provisions.

The effort marked one of the first in a growing call to administer aid to Palestinians by sea after five months of the Israel-Hamas war; President Biden shared similar but unrelated plans during his State of the Union address, with the U.S. military ordered to build a floating dock to administer aid off the Gaza coast.

World Central Kitchen’s team of staff and volunteer-based chefs and other on-the-ground helpers has been serving food and water to Palestinians since the fall. According to a statement from Andrés and Chief Executive Erin Gore in late March, the organization has served more than 42 million meals in Gaza and called the humanitarian crisis in Gaza “the most dire we’ve ever seen or experienced in our 15 year history.”

World Central Kitchen told The Times in an email statement that the organization is aware of Monday’s reports, but declined to make representatives available for further comment.

“This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should never be a target, ever,” the email statement read. “We will share more information when we have gathered all the facts.”

Check back for updates to this story.

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