According to the aid organization World Central Kitchen, several of its employees were killed in a suspected Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip. The organization has confirmed the deaths of seven of its employees and blamed Israel for it.

“The WCK team was traveling in a conflict-free zone in two armored vehicles with the WCK logo and one unprotected vehicle,” the organization wrote in a statement. In view of the fatal incident, the organization will immediately stop its operations in the region and will soon make decisions “about the future of our work.”

The aid organization wrote that the convoy was hit even though the trip had been coordinated with the Israeli army. The aid workers had just left a warehouse in the town of Deir al-Balah in the central part of the Gaza Strip when they were fired upon. There they unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid that was brought to the Gaza Strip by sea.

“The Israeli government must stop this indiscriminate killing,” wrote the organization’s founder, US-based Spanish celebrity chef José Andrés, on the X (formerly Twitter) platform.

Israel’s army wants to thoroughly investigate the incident

After the deaths of seven employees of the aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK) in a suspected Israeli air strike, the army has announced an in-depth investigation. Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said: “Last night an incident occurred in Gaza that resulted in the tragic deaths of World Central Kitchen employees while carrying out their essential task of bringing food to people in need.”

Israel’s army is bound by international law. “We are obliged to investigate our operations thoroughly and transparently,” said Hagari.

“I just spoke with WCK founder Chief José Andrés and expressed the Israel Defense Forces’ deepest condolences to the families and the entire WCK family,” the military spokesman continued.

“We have reviewed the incident at the highest level to understand the circumstances of what happened and how it happened,” Hagari said. “We will open an investigation to further examine this serious incident. This will help us reduce the risk of such an incident happening again.” He spoke of the investigation by an independent and professional committee of experts. We will get to the bottom of the matter and share the results transparently.

In recent months, the army has worked closely with the organization “to help them fulfill their noble task of bringing food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza,” the military spokesman said. “WCK also helped the Israelis after the massacre on October 7th, they were one of the first non-governmental organizations here.” The work of WCK is essential. “They are on the front lines of humanity.”

UN: Killed aid workers in Gaza were heroes

United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths has highlighted the courage of the seven humanitarian workers killed in Gaza. “They were heroes. They were killed trying to feed starving people,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Griffiths wrote that he was outraged. “The actions of those behind this cannot be justified,” he added.

Horrible images

Photos and video footage that circulated on social media overnight are said to show the World Central Kitchen employees who were killed. You can see their bodies in protective vests and their blood-smeared passports. According to Palestinian information, the Australian woman and her colleagues as well as their Palestinian driver were in the process of delivering relief supplies at the time of the air strike, wrote the newspaper “The Sydney Morning Herald”. They had arrived in Gaza just a few hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army’s statement said its own forces were making extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid and were working closely with World Central Kitchen to provide food and humanitarian assistance to people in the embattled Gaza Strip.

Japan wants to resume payments to UNRWA

Meanwhile, the Japanese government wants to resume financial support for the UN Palestinian Relief Agency. Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa announced this, according to the Kyodo news agency. The decision was made in view of the acute humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. The UN relief agency UNRWA came under heavy criticism. Some employees were accused of being involved in the Islamist Hamas massacre in Israel on October 7 last year.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres had promised a comprehensive investigation into the allegations. The collaboration with several employees was terminated. Several countries temporarily suspended payments to UNRWA because of the allegations, including the largest donors, the United States and Germany. Japan also froze a planned payment of $35 million.

Netanyahu wants to stop Sender Al-Dschasira

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the rapid closure of the Arabic TV channel Al-Jazeera in the country. Netanyahu explained the allegations that Al-Jazeera had damaged Israel’s security, incited hatred against Israeli soldiers and was a “terror channel.”

Israel’s parliament had immediately approved the so-called Al Jazeera law, which allows foreign TV channels to be closed if they are deemed to pose a risk to state security. Al-Jazeera has reported extensively on the catastrophic situation in Gaza since the beginning of the Gaza War, showing images of death and destruction rarely seen on Israeli TV channels.

Al-Jazeera rejects allegations as “dangerous lies.”

Following Israel’s announcement, the broadcaster denied allegations of bias and condemned the decision. The TV network based in the Gulf emirate of Qatar described Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegations as “dangerous, ridiculous lies.”

It was “inflammatory slander against the network,” it said. The latest Israeli measures are part of a series of “systematic Israeli attacks to silence Al Jazeera.”

Important Gaza clinic “in ruins” according to WHO

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one of the most important clinics in the Gaza Strip is no longer functioning following the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Shifa Hospital. “Shifa Hospital is now in ruins,” said WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris in Geneva. The destruction “torn the heart out of the health system.”

According to the WHO, less than a third of the 36 clinics in the Gaza Strip are still functioning. Harris said a WHO team was trying to get to Shifa Hospital to assess the situation before possible relief and evacuation operations.

Around two weeks after the start of the military operation in Shifa Hospital, the Israeli army withdrew again on Monday night. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, more than 200 terrorists were killed in the operation against the Islamist Hamas and hundreds surrendered. According to the Civil Defense, which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas, around 300 bodies were found in and around the hospital. Israel accuses the Islamist Hamas of systematically misusing medical facilities for military purposes. Hamas rejects this.

USA and Israel plan meetings on Rafah offensive

Representatives of the US government and the Israeli leadership are expected to meet next week to discuss Israel’s planned ground offensive in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. After a video link with representatives from both sides, the White House released a joint statement promising a face-to-face meeting next week. Both sides shared the goal of defeating Hamas in Rafah, it said.

“The US side expressed concerns about various approaches in Rafah.” The Israeli side, in turn, has agreed to take these concerns into account and to hold further discussions. Israel wants to destroy the last Hamas battalions in Rafah near the Egyptian border. The US government believes that a large-scale ground offensive would be wrong because of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians who have sought protection from the fighting there and would like to show Israel alternatives.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard confirms death of generals

After the suspected Israeli air strike in Syria, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have confirmed the death of two generals from their ranks. The two brigadier generals Mohammed-Reza Sahedi and Mohammed Hadi Haji Rahimi were killed in the attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in the capital Damascus, the IRGC said in the evening. Five other members of the Revolutionary Guard were killed in the attack.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani strongly condemned the attack and blamed Israel’s arch-enemy for the killing of the generals. “The dimensions of this hateful attack are being investigated and responsibility for its consequences lies with the aggressive Zionist regime,” the spokesman said, according to a statement from his ministry. “The Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to take countermeasures and will decide on the nature of the response.”

USA: Israel has every right to defend itself

The USA is Israel’s most important protecting power and supports the country with billions of dollars every year, a significant part of which goes towards missile defense and other military technology. However, relations between the two countries are currently very tense given the high number of civilian casualties in the Gaza war. In response to Israel’s conduct of the war, calls are growing to restrict arms sales to the ally. Armament deliveries to the country sometimes take several years, said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller in Washington.

Israel is surrounded by actors who are bent on its destruction, not only Hamas, but also Iran and its proxies, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. “We believe Israel has every right to defend itself against these adversaries,” Miller said. The Washington Post reported on Friday, citing unnamed officials in the Pentagon and State Department, that the US government had “quietly” approved new bombs and fighter jets for Israel in recent days.