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Food from Cyprus Resuming to Gaza After Israeli Strike Kills Aid Workers

NICOSIA – Humanitarian aid being shipped from Cyprus to Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s hunt for Hamas terrorists will pick up again after an airstrike there killed seven workers from the World Central Kitchen (WCK.)

The American-based charity paused its work after the deaths that Israel said were accidental, the attack drawing furious criticism around the world, including from US President Joe Biden.

The aid workers had just offloaded 100 tons of food aid from a barge which sailed from Cyprus when Israel attacked their vehicle convoy, the ship part of a four-vessel flotilla which sailed from Larnaca on Cyprus, said Reuters.

https://www.reuters.com/world/cyprus-president-says-cyprus-gaza-corridor-will-continue-operate-2024-04-02/

Another vessel still loaded with 240 tons of food, the Jennifer, headed back to Cyprus on April 3 along with the empty barge, a salvage boat and a tugboat after the organization suspended operations.

“They only managed to offload the barge,” a Cypriot official told Reuters. “One third (of the aid cargo) was delivered, and two thirds is coming back,” after reports that some Palestinians were near starvation during the siege and war.

The attack was called a setback expediting aid into Gaza and as Israel said it was “tragic” and unintended although the agency said it had informed Israel of the delivery and that two armored cars had the charity’s logo plainly visible.

The United Arab Emirates, which had been the main financier for WCK’s aid efforts through the maritime corridor, said it was pausing humanitarian aid efforts though that channel pending further safety guarantees and a full investigation, a UAE official said.

“The tragic events must not discourage us. We need to double down on efforts to get aid to Gaza,” Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said after a meeting with European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

WCK has been active in Gaza since October 2023, after the Hamas terrorists raided Israel and killed more than 1200 people, butchering victims and slaughtering and beheading some, including babies and children.

Israel’s brutal retaliation, which has killed more than 30,000 people, has been condemned by critics who called it genocide but Israel said it was brought on the terrorists incursion, the perpetrators said hiding behind civilians on Gaza.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos, who said Cypriot authorities had been in touch with WCK, said the strike occurred 12 kilometers (7.45 miles) from the landing area for aid – a makeshift jetty created by the charity.

“This is something that has now been frozen and since WCK has made the announcement – they will be leaving the area in order to come back, regroup and see and assess what the next steps are,” Kombos said.

Cyprus has helped establish a maritime route to Gaza by offering a fast-track on-island security screening process overseen by Israel, the news agency said, addings that the UAE and Cyprus jointly expressed “profound condemnation”

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