Workers in chef José Andrés’ humanitarian food group killed in Israeli airstrike in Gaza

People move a gurney with a person on it covered by a piece of cloth.
Palestinians carry the body of a person following an airstrike at the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, on Monday. Reports say an apparent Israeli airstrike killed international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen charity and a Palestinian driver.
(Abdel Kareem Hana / Associated Press)

International aid organization World Central Kitchen confirmed that seven of its members were killed in an apparent Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Monday during efforts to feed thousands facing starvation, according to chef José Andrés, founder of the group.

WCK said it would pause operations in Gaza.

The team members were traveling in a deconflicted zone in two armored cars with the WCK logo and another vehicle without armor, according to a statement from the nonprofit. The WCK said that it had coordinated movements with the Israeli Defense Forces but that the convoy was struck as it was leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah, a city in central Gaza. The team had unloaded more than 100 tons of food brought to Gaza by sea.

Photos and videos circulated on social media Monday showed bodies and bloodied passports reportedly belonging to the deceased members of the World Central Kitchen team deployed in Gaza. The WCK said the seven killed are from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, U.S.-Canada and the Palestinian territories.


“I am heartbroken and appalled that we — World Central Kitchen and the world — lost beautiful lives today because of a targeted attack by the IDF. The love they had for feeding people, the determination they embodied to show that humanity rises above all, and the impact they made in countless lives will forever be remembered and cherished,” said chief executive Erin Gore in a statement.

According to World Central Kitchen, the IDF says it is “carrying out an in-depth examination at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.”

Andrés could not be reached for comment.

“Today @WCKitchen [World Central Kitchen] lost several of our sisters and brothers in an IDF air strike in Gaza,” Andrés posted to the social media platform X. “I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family. These are people … angels … I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Turkey, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia. They are not faceless … they are not nameless.

“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing,” the chef 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 had called for a cease-fire via social media on Dec. 10 along with an “end of hostilities,” one of the most prominent voices in the global food community to do so.

Andrés’ organization administers free meals, water and other resources to crisis zones around the world in the wake of war and natural disaster. In March, World Central Kitchen collected roughly 200 tons of food and, with the aid of Spanish humanitarian group Open Arms, shipped out to Gaza to deliver the provisions.


The effort marked one of the first in a growing call to administer aid to Palestinians by sea after five months of the Israel-Hamas war; President Biden shared similar but unrelated plans during his State of the Union address, with the U.S. military ordered to build a floating dock to administer aid off the Gaza coast.

World Central Kitchen’s team of staff and volunteer-based chefs and other on-the-ground helpers has been serving food and water to Palestinians since the fall. According to a statement from Andrés and Gore in late March, the organization has served more than 42 million meals in Gaza and called the humanitarian crisis in Gaza “the most dire we’ve ever seen or experienced in our 15 year history.”

World Central Kitchen is suspending operations in the region immediately and said in a statement it will be making decisions about future work in Gaza soon.

“This is not only an attack against WCK. This is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” said Gore.

Betty Hallock contributed to this story.