World Central Kitchen founder Chef José Andrés speaks out after 7 WCK staffers killed by Israeli air strike


WASHINGTON — World Central Kitchen founder Chef José Andrés spoke out after seven of the humanitarian organization’s staffers were killed by an Israeli air strike.

The renowned chef and restaurateur said that his group was in communication with Israeli armed forces and said humanitarian workers and civilians should never pay the consequences of war, adding that it’s a basic principle of humanity.

“This it seems is a war against humanity itself. And you can never win that war. Because humanity eventually will always prevail,” Andrés said in an interview with Reuters.

Andrés said the World Central Kitchen charity group had clear communication with the Israeli military, which he said knew his aid workers’ movements.

“This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” Andrés said.

He rejected Israeli and U.S. assertions that the strike was not deliberate.

“Initially, I would say categorically no,” Andrés said when asked if he accepted that explanation. “Even if we were not in coordination with the Israel Defense Forces, no democratic country and no military can be targeting civilians and humanitarians,” he added.

The U.S. needs to do more to stop the war, Andrés said, adding that he spoke to President Biden on Tuesday.

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

In a statement, Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken by the deaths of seven humanitarian workers from World Central Kitchen, including one American, in Gaza yesterday. They were providing food to hungry civilians in the middle of a war. They were brave and selfless. Their deaths are a tragedy.”

“Israel has pledged to conduct a thorough investigation into why the aid workers’ vehicles were hit by airstrikes. That investigation must be swift, it must bring accountability, and its findings must be made public,” the president’s statement said.

The deaths of the World Central Kitchen workers threatened to set back efforts by the U.S. and other countries to open a maritime corridor for aid from Cyprus to help ease the desperate conditions in northern Gaza. The loss also prompted multiple charities to suspend food deliveries to Palestinians on the brink of starvation.

This comes as the president is expected to speak to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.

MORE: Who were the World Central Kitchen workers killed in Israel’s strike in Gaza?

The hit on the charity’s convoy also highlighted what critics have called Israel’s indiscriminate bombing and lack of regard for civilian casualties in Gaza.

New images of the heavily damaged convoy show the workers traveling in clearly marked World Central Kitchen vehicles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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