Biden 'outraged' by Israeli strike on World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza

WCK dentifies the seven 'heroes' killed by Israel in Gaza

US President Joe Biden reiterated calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Reuters
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US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he was outraged by Israel's strike that killed seven World Central Kitchen workers and demanded accountability for those responsible.

In some of his strongest words of condemnation of Israel since it launched its military operations in Gaza after the October 7 Hamas attacks, Mr Biden said the US ally is failing to protect aid workers and civilians.

“I am outraged and heart-broken by the deaths of seven humanitarian workers from World Central Kitchen, including one American, in Gaza yesterday.”

Israel's “investigation must be swift, it must bring accountability, and its findings must be made public”.

The slain American, who also has Canadian nationality, was identified by World Central Kitchen as Jacob Flickinger.

Mr Biden said the Monday's attack was not "a stand-alone incident” and called the Gaza war “one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been killed".

The UN estimates that 196 people have been killed in the conflict since October last year.

Mr Biden, who is facing overwhelming domestic pressure to do more to rein in Israel, said it has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver help to civilians.

More than 32,900 people in Gaza have been killed in Israel's war on Hamas, according to health officials in the enclave, and the UN warns that nearly half of the population are also at risk of “imminent” famine.

“Incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen. Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians,” Mr Biden said.

The President's statement came hours after he spoke to his “friend” Jose Andres, the celebrity chef who runs several Washington restaurants and who founded World Central Kitchen. The Spanish-American cook was recently in the White House lobbying for the Biden administration to do more to get food aid into Gaza.

World Central Kitchen had recently begun operations through a maritime aid route to Gaza through Cyprus.

The organisation identified the seven “heroes” killed as: Saifeddin Issam Ayad of Palestine; Australian Lalzawmi Frankcom; Damian Sobol of Poland; US-Canada dual citizen Mr Flickinger; and security team members John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby, all of the UK.

Mr Biden and his administration has been increasingly calling for Israel to allow in more aid as the civilian death toll in Gaza mounts and the humanitarian crisis worsens.

“The US has repeatedly urged Israel to deconflict their military operations against Hamas with humanitarian operations, in order to avoid civilian casualties,” he said.

The US is conducting aid drops and building a temporary pier and dock off the coast for more maritime aid deliveries.

The President also said he a team in Cairo is currently trying to co-ordinate an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants, along with the release of hostages held in Gaza.

Mr Biden's statement also echoes Mr Andres's comments shortly after the Monday's strike.

“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing,” he said in a post on X.

“It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon.”

Seven aid workers killed in Israeli air strike on Gaza

Seven aid workers killed in Israeli air strike on Gaza
Updated: April 03, 2024, 5:23 PM