U.S. ‘Outraged’ Over Deadly Israeli Strike on World Central Kitchen Convoy in Gaza

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at a deadly Israeli strike on humanitarian workers in Gaza, Ukraine targeting Russian oil infrastructure, and a school shooting in Finland.

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at a deadly Israeli strike on humanitarian workers in Gaza, Ukraine targeting Russian oil infrastructure, and a school shooting in Finland.

Aid Volunteers Killed in Gaza

World Central Kitchen (WCK), an aid organization founded by celebrity chef José Andrés that provides meals to communities struck by humanitarian disasters, temporarily suspended food deliveries to Gaza on Tuesday after an Israeli strike killed seven of the group’s volunteers in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah late Monday. Three of the victims were British citizens, and the others were Australian, Polish, and dual U.S.-Canadian.

“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,” WCK CEO Erin Gore said, calling Israel’s actions “unforgivable.”

Israeli forces reportedly launched a strike on WCK’s three-car convoy over suspicions that a terrorist was traveling with the volunteers, defense sources told Haaretz. They said the convoy was escorting an aid truck allegedly transporting an armed man to a food warehouse in Deir al-Balah, where WCK said the team unloaded “more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid.” When WCK left the warehouse, the suspect was believed to still be inside. Israeli drones then fired three consecutive missiles at the convoy, killing all seven volunteers.

World Central Kitchen said it had coordinated its movements with Israel’s military and that the convoy included two armored cars branded with WCK’s logo. “The attack on the seven WCK aid workers constitutes a clear violation of the International Court of Justice’s provisions,” said Washington-based aid organization American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera), referring to a court ruling last month saying Israel must take “all necessary and effective measures” to ensure the unhindered provision of aid to Palestinians in Gaza. Anera is a nonprofit that collaborates with WCK to deliver 150,000 meals to Gaza daily alongside medical treatments and other emergency aid items.

Israel took responsibility for the strike. “Unfortunately, in the last 24 hours, there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “This happens in war, and we will investigate it to the end.”

Foreign leaders condemned Israel’s actions. U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the White House was “outraged,” and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called the attack “completely unacceptable,” summoning the Israeli ambassador to the U.K. to London.

At least 196 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7, 2023, according to the U.S.-funded Aid Worker Security Database, including 173 employees with the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (known as UNRWA). Not all of these staffers were killed while carrying out their duties. Israel barred UNRWA last week from delivering aid to northern Gaza despite the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification warning last month that 70 percent of Palestinians in parts of northern Gaza face famine-scale food shortages.

Today’s Most Read

What We’re Following

Oil refinery attack. A Ukrainian drone strike hit Taneco, Russia’s third-largest oil refinery, in the Russian city of Nizhnekamsk on Tuesday, roughly 800 miles from the war’s front lines. Local authorities said the facility suffered no critical damage to its output despite a fire breaking out onsite. The refinery produces more than 17 million tons of crude per year—6.2 percent of Russia’s refining capacity—and the unit hit on Tuesday is responsible for roughly half of the facility’s total production.

Kyiv’s assault was in response to Russian strikes late Monday against energy facilities in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk and Kirovohrad oblasts, the Ukrainian military said. Kyiv has repeatedly targeted Russian oil refineries in recent weeks as a way “to strike at both the economic and logistic sinews of Russia’s war effort,” FP’s Keith Johnson wrote. As of the end of March, Ukrainian drone strikes had shut down around 14 percent of Russia’s total refining capacity, Reuters reported.

Finland’s school shooting. Finnish authorities apprehended a 12-year-old who opened fire at a secondary school north of Helsinki on Tuesday. One student was killed, and two others were seriously injured during the shooting. It is unclear what the student’s motive was, but Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said there will be an investigation.

The suspect was accused of murder and attempted murder “due to some degree of planning,” police said. However, Finland’s minimum age of criminal liability is 15 years, meaning the suspect cannot be formally arrested. The shooter will instead be handed to child welfare authorities after police finish their questioning.

The student was in possession of a licensed handgun registered to a close relative when they were arrested. Finland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in Europe, with around 430,000 license-holders and more than 1.5 million licensed firearms in the nation, according to the Finnish Interior Ministry. In response to school shootings in 2007 and 2008, Helsinki passed a law in 2011 raising the age to purchase firearms from 18 to 20, introducing an aptitude test, and requiring doctors to report anyone deemed unfit to own a gun.

New leadership across Africa. Senegal inaugurated Bassirou Diomaye Faye on Tuesday, making him the West African country’s youngest president. “I am aware that the results of the ballot box express a profound desire for systemic change,” Faye said. “Under my leadership, Senegal will be a country of hope, a peaceful country with an independent judiciary and a strengthened democracy.”

Just 10 days before Senegal’s March 24 presidential election, Faye was released from prison, where he had been held without trial on charges that included inciting insurrection. Experts and observers saw his incarceration as part of a broader undemocratic effort by then-outgoing President Macky Sall to cling to power. Analysts writing for the BBC say Faye’s swearing-in has “reinvigorated popular confidence in democracy.”

Also on Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was sworn in for a third six-year term. The ceremony took place in the nation’s new capital, called the New Administrative Capital (NAC), which is located around 28 miles southeast of Cairo. The NAC is the largest in a series of mega-projects that Sisi has touted as vital to the country’s economic development and growing population. Critics, however, have argued that the NAC and other multibillion-dollar mega-projects increase Cairo’s debt burden.

In more leadership changes, the Democratic Republic of the Congo appointed its first female prime minister on Monday. President Félix Tshisekedi chose former Planning Minister Judith Suminwa Tuluka in a significant step for gender equality. Tuluka vowed to prioritize peace and development amid ongoing regional violence.

Odds and Ends

The world’s oldest continual monarchy has dipped its toe into social media. Japan’s imperial family joined Instagram on Monday to better connect with today’s young people. In just a few hours, the account had already published 60 pictures and five videos of Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, and their 22-year-old daughter, Princess Aiko, attending diplomatic meetings, awards ceremonies, and a bonsai exhibition. The family will also consider joining Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) in the future. Too bad they missed out on the MySpace era.

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