World Central Kitchen to resume aid in Gaza following fatal airstrike

World Central Kitchen vehicle targeted in an Israeli airstrike
A World Central Kitchen vehicle destroyed in the Israeli airstrike earlier this month [Reuters]

World Central Kitchen is to resume distributing food in Gaza, nearly a month after seven of its aid workers were killed in an Israeli air strike.

The aid organisation said it has 276 trucks with eight million meals ready to enter through the Rafah crossing.

"Ultimately, we decided we must keep feeding," the charity said on Sunday.

Earlier this month, the charity said a convoy leaving a warehouse was attacked by Israel killing seven and sparking an international outcry.

The Israel Defense Forces admitted "grave mistakes" led to the fatal strike against the workers and dismissed two senior officers over the incident.

In a statement on Sunday, WCK CEO Erin Gore said: "The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains dire.

"We are restarting our operation with the same energy, dignity, and focus on feeding as many people as possible."

The charity said it will also send trucks from Jordan and use the Ashdod Port, one of Israel's three main cargo ports, as well as build a third high production kitchen in Gaza.

Speaking on the fatal airstrike, the charity said it was continuing to call for an impartial and international investigation into the deaths of the aid workers, which included three Britons, a Palestinian, Australian, Pole and US-Canadian citizen.

"While we have no concrete assurances, we continue to seek answers and advocate for change with the goal of better protecting WCK and all NGO workers serving selflessly in the worst humanitarian conditions," Ms Gore said.

WCK is one of the main suppliers of desperately-needed aid into Gaza and says it has supplied more than 43 million meals in Gaza since the war started in October.

Talking about the decision to resume operations, Ms Gore added: "We decided that we must keep feeding, continuing our mission of showing up to provide food to people during the toughest of times."

In the space of four minutes on 1 April, the seven aid workers were killed when three missiles destroyed their cars one by one as they engaged in humanitarian work.

The charity's team had been authorised by the Israeli military to help transfer aid supplies from the coast to a warehouse. The IDF said a series of mistakes and miscommunications resulted in them being mistaken for Hamas operatives and targeted.

Israel's military said a "number of armed gunmen" were in the vicinity of the convoy, but drone operators wrongly tracked cars carrying aid workers.

The army apologised after admitting its soldiers did not follow protocols and were not given crucial information about the pre-approved aid mission.

A vehicle World Central Kitchen with a hole in its roof
Those involved in the attack on the convoy did not know the vehicles belonged to World Central Kitchen, the Israeli military report found [EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock]

The WCK announcement comes as Israeli's military said the amount of aid going into Gaza will be ramped up in the coming days to help .

Spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari said in a statement: "Food, water, medical supplies, shelter equipment and other aid - more of it is going into Gaza than ever before."

Israel is also working with US Central Command to construct a "temporary maritime pier," which will allow ship-to-shore distribution, he added.

The UN has warned that famine in the Gaza Strip is "almost inevitable" and children are starving to death.

The current war began when Hamas attacked Israeli communities near Gaza, killing about 1,200 people, mainly civilians, and taking about 250 hostages.

Israel's subsequent campaign of aerial bombardment and ground operations in Gaza has killed 34,454 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there.