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Ships Returning from Gaza with Undelivered Aid After Strike

NICOSIA — An official in Cyprus says aid ships that arrived in Gaza this week will return with some 240 tons of undelivered aid after a deadly strike killed 7 aid workers.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Theodoros Gotsis said Tuesday that around 100 tons of aid had been unloaded before the World Central Kitchen, an international charity, suspended operations after its workers were killed.

An apparent Israeli strike on a convoy in Gaza killed six foreign aid workers and their Palestinian driver late Monday.

Cyprus has played a key role in trying to establish a maritime aid corridor to Gaza from its port city of Larnaca. Those efforts suffered a major setback when World Central Kitchen halted operations after the strike.

Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos said the charity is suspending its operations in Gaza out of respect for the victims as well as to review its security protocols.

Israel has expressed sorrow over the deaths and vowed to carry out an independent investigation into what happened, while stopping short of accepting responsibility.

CYPRUS PRESIDENT SAYS MORE AID COULD BE SHIPPED TO GAZA DESPITE AIRSTRIKE

The president of Cyprus says that more aid could be shipped to Gaza from Cyprus before the end of the month as the U.S. completes construction of a floating pier off the besieged territory’s coastline.

President Nikos Christodoulides said after escorting European Parliament President Roberta Metsola on a tour of Cypriot port facilities Tuesday that the Gaza aid shipments “will continue as humanitarian needs are there” despite Monday’s airstrike that killed seven staff members from the U.S. charity World Central Kitchen.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged that Israeli forces carried out the strike that killed seven aid workers in Gaza. He said officials “will do everything for this not to happen again.”

In the last three weeks, World Central Kitchen in partnership with the United Arab Emirates has sent approximately 500 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza from the Cypriot port of Larnaca aboard a barge and two ships on two separate trips. The charity announced it’s suspending operations in Gaza following the death of its staffers.

Christodoulides said the tragic event “should not discourage us” and that the international community should “double down” on efforts to provide more assistance to Gaza’s civilian population.

He said aid workers “must have full protection” in providing assistance, citing “crystal clear” humanitarian law.

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