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José Andrés says Israel 'systematically' targeted aid workers

Renowned chef José Andrés, founder of the food charity World Central Kitchen (WCK), called out the Israeli military on Wednesday after seven of his organization’s workers were killed in one of its airstrikes, saying the group was “systematically” targeted “car by car.”

A convoy of WCK vehicles was struck multiple times by the Israeli military on Monday after leaving one of the group’s warehouses, where it dropped off food aid. The convoy was driving along a route previously approved by the Israeli military in a “deconflicted zone” when it was attacked.

“This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” Andrés told Reuters. “Even if we were not in coordination with the [Israeli military], no democratic country and no military can be targeting civilians and humanitarians.”

The seven WCK volunteers killed in the strike were from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom and Palestine, and one was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada.

The Israeli military took responsibility for the strike, claiming it was caused by a miscommunication and false intelligence that a Hamas militant was with the group. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that the Israelis are “conducting a thorough inquiry.”

“This happens in war,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

Andrés, who spoke with President Biden on Tuesday after the attack, urged him to increase pressure on Netanyahu.

“The U.S. must do more to tell Prime Minister Netanyahu this war needs to end now,” he said.

He previously called for the Israeli government to stop its “indiscriminate killing” and said “no more innocent lives” should be lost.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that Biden thanked Andrés for his charity work.

“The president felt it was important to recognize the tremendous contribution World Central Kitchen has made to the people in Gaza and people around the world,” Jean-Pierre said. “The president conveyed he will make clear to Israel that humanitarian aid workers must be protected.”

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