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Israeli Killing Of Aid Workers In Gaza 'Deeply Alarming': US Aid Agency

03.04.2024 18:12

Israel 'must do far more to protect aid workers and protect civilians from the unacceptable levels of casualties,' says Samantha Power.

The administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said the killing of aid workers in the Gaza Strip by Israel is "deeply alarming."

"The seven humanitarians killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza yesterday were there to do one thing – to help get food to desperate, starving people.

"Their deaths, and the deaths of more than 30,000 Palestinians and 200 humanitarian workers in this conflict, are devastating and deeply alarming," Samantha Power said in a statement late Tuesday.

Her remarks came after the workers from World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed in an Israeli strike Monday in the Gaza Strip. They were nationals of Australia, Poland, the UK, Palestine, as well as a US-Canada dual citizen.

Israel said it was conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of the "tragic" incident.

"But what is clear is that the Government of Israel must do far more to protect aid workers and protect civilians from the unacceptable levels of casualties they continue to experience as a result of IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) military operations," said Power.

Israel 'must do much more'

With nearly the entire population in Gaza living under the threat of famine, she said the team at the US-based charity has been "relentlessly" working to get assistance to those in need.

"They have been on the ground throughout this conflict, serving people hot meals wherever they can and using every tool at their disposal to reach desperate families.

"Every day, they, along with countless other humanitarian workers, are putting their lives at risk to help others," she said, conveying condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those killed.

USAID and its partners will continue to do what it can to deliver humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, she stressed.

"But the Government of Israel and the IDF must do much more to facilitate this work.

"We will continue to press Israel to create the conditions to ensure the safety of humanitarian actors and activities, open additional land crossings, remove impediments to the delivery of humanitarian aid, and do far more to prevent the killing of humanitarian workers and innocent civilians," added Power.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, which killed less than 1,200 people.

At least 32,975 Palestinians have since been killed and nearly 75,577 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which last week asked Israel to do more to prevent famine in Gaza -

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