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WHO Director-General Calls for Protection of Humanitarian Workers Following Fatal Strike in Gaza

GAZA CITY – The World Health Organization's Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has expressed his outrage and called for the enhanced protection of humanitarian personnel in Gaza. This follows a tragic incident where an Israeli airstrike resulted in the deaths of seven workers from the US-based World Central Kitchen (WCK).

According to Philippines News Agency, the call to action came after the devastating loss of life, emphasizing the critical need for the safety of those delivering essential humanitarian assistance in conflict zones. Tedros extended his condolences to the team at World Central Kitchen and the families of those who were killed, underlining the imperative of safeguarding humanitarian workers to ensure the continuation of vital aid operations.

World Central Kitchen confirmed that its team members were victims of the airstrike while transiting in a convoy through what was designated as a deconflicted zone. The organization detailed that the convoy comprised two armored vehicles, clearly marked with WCK's insignia, and an additional unarmored vehicle. Despite proactive communication with the Israeli military regarding their movements, the vehicles were targeted upon departing a warehouse in Deir al-Balah, a southern city in the Gaza Strip, where they had delivered over 100 tons of food aid.

WCK's CEO, Erin Gore, condemned the attack, framing it as an assault not just on their organization but on the broader community of humanitarian entities striving to provide relief in crisis conditions. She highlighted the egregiousness of the incident, occurring in a context where food assistance is critically needed.

The individuals who lost their lives in the strike were citizens of Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Palestine, including a dual national of the United States and Canada, illustrating the international scope of humanitarian work and the global repercussions of such tragic incidents.