The American non-governmental organization (NGO) World Central Kitchen (WCK) announced that seven of its humanitarian workers were killed on Monday, April 1, by a strike that it immediately attributed to the Israeli army.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that Israeli forces carried out the bombing: “Unfortunately yesterday [Monday] there was a tragic incident, with our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip. Gaza. This happens in a war, we will check until the end, we are in contact with the governments and will do everything to ensure that this never happens again,” he said from the hospital, where he underwent on Sunday evening an operation for a hernia.

The NGO WCK, based in the United States, specified in a press release that the victims were “from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom (…) and Palestine” and that one of them had the American and Canadian nationalities. WCK immediately announced that it was suspending its activities in the region.

Some cars used bore the WCK logo

The Australian Prime Minister confirmed on Tuesday morning that one of his compatriots, Zomi Frankcom, was among those killed. Anthony Albanese praised the “extraordinarily valuable” work Ms. Frankcom was doing in the Gaza Strip and assured that his country “would seek accountability.” According to the health ministry in the Hamas-administered Gaza Strip, a Palestinian driver and translator were among those killed.

The Polish Foreign Ministry sent its “sincere words of sympathy” to the family of a Polish volunteer who offered help to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, without specifying how he was killed. “I personally asked Israeli Ambassador Yacov Livne for an urgent explanation. He assured me that Poland would soon receive the results of an investigation into this tragedy,” the minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, told X, adding that Warsaw planned to conduct its own investigation.

In the UK, the Foreign Office said it was aware of reports of the death of a British national in Gaza and was “urgently seeking further information”.

Humanitarians had just delivered “more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid transported to Gaza by sea” in the north of the Palestinian enclave and were leaving the Deir Al-Balah warehouse, WCK explained in its statement. “The team was traveling in a non-combat zone aboard two armored cars bearing the WCK logo and an unarmored vehicle,” detailed the NGO.

The Israeli army announced that it was “investigating the tragic incident at the highest level to understand the circumstances” and assured that it had “worked closely with WCK” for its distribution of aid to the population of Gaza. “We will open an investigation to examine this serious incident more closely. This will help us limit the risk of such an event happening again,” promised Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari in a video published on X. He added that he had spoken with the founder of WCK , José Andrés, to send his “deepest condolences” and expressed his “sincere sadness” to “the allied countries [of Israel] who have done and continue to do so much to help those in need.”

White House says it’s ‘heartbroken’

“The Israeli government must put an end to this way of killing indiscriminately,” urged José Andrès. Israel, he continued, “must end the restriction on food aid, end the killing of civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon.”

The strike blamed on Israel was also widely condemned around the world. The White House said it was “heartbroken.” “We are deeply troubled by the strike,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson told X. “Aid workers must be protected as they provide desperately needed aid, and we urge Israel to promptly investigate what happened,” she added.

China said it was “shocked” while recalling that “international law” must be respected. Beijing “opposes any action that harms civilians, destroys civilian infrastructure or violates international law,” declared Chinese diplomatic spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

“I pay tribute to the WCK staff members killed during an Israeli air attack in Gaza,” responded the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. “I condemn this attack and urge an investigation,” he said on his X account.

The American NGO WCK is notably involved in sending aid by boat from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip and in the construction of a temporary pier in Gaza. A first boat unloaded its cargo there in mid-March under the supervision of the Israeli army.