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Workers with World Central Kitchen are reported killed in airstrike in Gaza

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Five aid workers with the charity group World Central Kitchen have been reported killed in the Gaza Strip, apparently in an airstrike. This comes as aid groups are desperately trying to find more ways to deliver food and other assistance to Gaza amid a worsening humanitarian crisis. This is a developing story. And to tell us what we know so far, NPR's Greg Myre is on the line. Hi, Greg.

GREG MYRE, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: We know that not enough aid is getting into Gaza, and it is extremely dangerous delivering assistance to the Gaza Strip. What can you tell us about this incident?

MYRE: So Jose Andres, the well-known chef who's the founder of World Central Kitchen - he said on X that his organization lost several of its international volunteers in what he said was an Israeli airstrike. The Israeli military says it's investigating, but it hasn't said whether it was involved or not. The Associated Press, citing Palestinian health workers, say five people were killed while delivering aid near the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah when the car was hit.

SHAPIRO: Can you tell us anything more about those who were killed?

MYRE: Yeah, videos and photos that are on social media show five bodies side by side on the ground outside a hospital, and they're still wearing protective gear. Now, three passports were placed on the bodies. Apparently they were carrying them when they were killed. One is a British passport, one is Australian and one is Polish. A fourth international aid worker or volunteer was also reportedly killed here, but no word on that person's nationality, and the fifth was apparently the Palestinian driver. Many aid workers in Gaza have been killed in the past few months. Overwhelmingly, they've been Palestinians who account for the vast majority doing this work in Gaza right now. And we should also note that Israel is familiar with World Central Kitchen because they've been so active, and Israel says, in fact, it's been coordinating with the group.

SHAPIRO: What kind of aid has the group been delivering? How does it fit into the larger picture of humanitarian assistance to Gaza?

MYRE: Yeah. So not only have they been very active, they've been trying to do some pretty innovative things here. In the past couple weeks, the group built this makeshift jetty so that food could be delivered by the Mediterranean Sea to the coast of Gaza. And this jetty was pieced together from rubble from destroyed buildings in Gaza. And on Monday, today, the second ship delivering aid to this jetty arrived in Gaza, coming from Cyprus in the Mediterranean. The ship had around 400 tons of food and other supplies, and this was organized by the United Arab Emirates along with World Central Kitchen. It appears the aid workers were delivering or had just delivered some of this food that had arrived when they were killed.

Still a lot we don't know. There have been some videos that appear to show one of these aid workers in Gaza a few days ago, but we don't know how long they had been there or even if they had just arrived on this ship from Cyprus.

SHAPIRO: It seems like it's growing ever more dangerous to deliver aid in Gaza. Why does this keep happening?

MYRE: Yeah, Ari, it has become a very dangerous business to deliver aid in Gaza. We've had two huge instances in recent weeks where we've seen very chaotic scenes and mass casualties surrounding aid deliveries. Palestinians say this is because the Israeli forces opened fire in these two instances. Israel has said many of the victims were trampled to death. Now, aid workers, as we've noted, have often been victims in these cases, and a number of these deadly episodes have been taking place in northern and central Gaza. Israeli troops are very active in these areas, and yet it's getting very little aid. This contributes to the panic and desperation we've seen in these areas.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Greg Myre. Thank you.

MYRE: Sure thing, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on the intelligence community, a position that follows his many years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the globe.
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