World Central Kitchen founder says staff 'deliberately targeted' while delivering aid to Gaza

World Central Kitchen founder says staff 'deliberately targeted' while delivering aid to Gaza

The World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres has said an Israeli attack that killed seven of his food aid workers in Gaza had targeted them "systematically, car by car".

The celebrity chef told Reuters the World Central Kitchen (WCK) had clear communication with the Israeli military, which he said knew his aid workers' movements.

“This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place," Andres said.

"Even if we were not in coordination with the (Israel Defense Forces), no democratic country and no military can be targeting civilians and humanitarians."

John Chapman, 57, James Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47, died with four World Central Kitchen colleagues when the three vehicles they were using to deliver food were hit in a triple drone strike by the Israel Defence Forces.

All three Britons were part of the aid organisation’s security team with Mr Henderson, a former Royal Marine, due to leave Gaza that day. Mr Chapman, from Poole, Dorset, is understood to have been a former member of Britain’s special forces.

The aid workers were killed when their convoy was hit shortly after they oversaw the unloading of 100 tonnes of food brought to Gaza by sea.

Israel's military has expressed "severe sorrow" over the incident and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it unintentional.

Andres said there may have been more than three strikes against the aid convoy.

He said he was supposed to be in Gaza with his team but for different reasons "wasn't able to go back again to Gaza".

Andres, who spoke to President Joe Biden on Tuesday, pressured the United States to do more to stop the war.

"The US must do more to tell Prime Minister Netanyahu this war needs to end now," he said.

Andres said his organisation was still studying the safety situation in Gaza as it contemplates starting aid deliveries again.

At least 196 humanitarian workers have been killed in Gaza since October, according to the United Nations, and Hamas has previously accused Israel of targeting aid distribution sites.

WCK began last month moving food aid to starving people in northern Gaza via a maritime corridor from Cyprus, in collaboration with Spanish charity Open Arms. The charity coordinated closely with Israel's military, Arab nations and others, Andres said earlier.

Biden said he was "outraged and heartbroken" by the deaths. The US sided with Netanyahu's assertion that the strikes were not deliberate.

Founded by Andres, 54, in 2010 after a Haiti earthquake, WCK has tried to sidestep red tape around the world to rush aid to disaster-hit areas, including Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

The conflict began after Hamas attacks on southern Israel on October 7 that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures.

Since then, much of the densely populated territory has been laid waste and most of its 2.3 million population displaced. More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.