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White House 'Outraged' By Israeli Strike On Aid Workers, But Says 'No Evidence' It Was Deliberate

02.04.2024 22:42

Biden tells World Central Kitchen founder that he will 'make clear to Israel that humanitarian aid workers must be protected,' White House says.

The White House condemned Tuesday a series of Israeli airstrikes that killed at least seven humanitarian aid workers in the Gaza Strip but said there is no proof that the attack was intentional.

US President Joe Biden called Jose Andres, the celebrity chef who founded the charity aid group whose employees were killed, to express his "deepest condolences" and said he will "make clear to Israel that humanitarian aid workers must be protected," spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

"We were outraged to learn of an IDF strike that killed a number of civilian humanitarian workers yesterday from the World Central Kitchen (WCK)," National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby added in remarks to reporters at the White House.

More than 200 aid workers have so far been killed in Gaza "making it one of the worst for aid workers in recent history," he added.

The WCK earlier confirmed that seven of its humanitarian aid workers were killed in Monday's "unforgivable" Israeli strikes.

Despite coordinating its movements with the Israeli military, the charity said the convoy was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in the southern city of Deir al-Balah after the team unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on a maritime route.

Pictures from the scene showed at least one vehicle with clear markings labeling it as part of World Central Kitchen.

"This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable," said World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore.

The workers that were killed were nationals of Australia, Poland, the UK, Palestine as well as a US-Canada dual citizen.

Israel has announced that it will investigate the attacks, which the White House said should take days, not weeks, to resolve.

"We hope that those findings will be made public and that there is appropriate accountability," said Kirby.

"Your question presumes at this very early hour that it was a deliberate strike, that they knew exactly what they were hitting, that they were hitting aid workers, and did it on purpose, and there's no evidence of that," he added in response to a question.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by Hamas which killed around 1,200 people. More than 32,800 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, and over 75,000 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation. That has dramatically heightened the need for international assistance in the coastal enclave amid stringent Israeli restrictions on its entry.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which last week asked Tel Aviv to do more to prevent famine in Gaza. -

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