Joe Biden says he’s “outraged and heartbroken” after Israeli strike kills World Central Kitchen team


President Joe Biden said he is “outraged and heartbroken” after an Israeli airstrike reportedly killed seven World Central Kitchen humanitarian workers in Gaza early Tuesday morning. In a statement made Tuesday, Biden hailed the workers as “brave and selfless” and called their deaths “a tragedy.”

The president continued, stating that Israel “has pledged to conduct a thorough investigation into why the aid workers’ vehicles were hit by airstrikes.” The workers were reportedly traveling in a “deconflicted zone” in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle when they were struck, WCK explained in a separate statement. The workers were from Australia, Poland, United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, and Palestine. 

“Even more tragically, this is not a stand-alone incident. This conflict has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been killed,” Biden added. “This is a major reason why distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult — because Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians. 

“Incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen. Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians. The United States has repeatedly urged Israel to deconflict their military operations against Hamas with humanitarian operations, in order to avoid civilian casualties.”

The United States, Biden said, is “pushing hard” for an immediate ceasefire as part of a hostage deal. Back in March, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire after the US declined to use its veto power. The vote prompted Israeli officials and top advisers to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel a planned visit to Washington, widening the rift between two longtime allies amid Israel’s military operations in the Gaza strip.    

Elsewhere in his statement, Biden said he spoke with chef José Andrés to convey his deepest condolences and continued support for Andrés and “his team’s relentless and heroic efforts to get food to hungry people around the globe.” Andrés is the founder of WCK, the not-for-profit organization that provides fresh meals in response to humanitarian, climate and community crises, per its official website. Following the attack, Andrés wrote on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) that he is “heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family.”

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“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing,” his post continued. “It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives lost. Peace starts with our shared humanity. It needs to start now.”

Andrés reiterated his sentiments in a New York Times guest essay published Wednesday. Specifically, he said the deaths of the seven aid workers were the “direct result” of Israeli policy in its conflict with Palestine.

“The seven people killed on a World Central Kitchen mission in Gaza on Monday were the best of humanity,” Andrés wrote, adding that Israel should “open more land routes for food and medicine” to Gaza. He also dismissed Netanyahu’s apology for the strike, instead calling it a “direct attack” on aid workers who coordinated movements with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). “It was also the direct result of a policy that squeezed humanitarian aid to desperate levels,” Andrés said. 

“You cannot save the hostages by bombing every building in Gaza. You cannot win this war by starving an entire population,” he wrote.

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