After airstrikes against aid workers in Gaza, aid NGOs stop working. Al-Shifa Hospital is a scene of destruction.

People taken from the air, standing on sandy ground, with debris from high-rise buildings in the background

Photo emergency room: the surroundings of Al-Shifa hospital on April 1 Photo: Mohammed Hajjar/ap

JERUSALEM taz | After the Israeli attack on a convoy of the international aid organization World Central Kitchen (WCK), which left seven dead, the NGO wants to temporarily stop its work in the Gaza Strip. The photos show a destroyed vehicle with the organization's logo and the bodies of several international employees wearing protective vests. “This is an attack on humanitarian organizations providing aid in a desperate situation where food is being used as a weapon of war,” WCK President Erin Gore said Tuesday. “This is unforgivable.”

The convoy was fired upon in Deir al-Balah on Monday despite coordination with the Israeli military, WCK said. Among other things, the organization distributes aid that arrives in Gaza by sea from Cyprus. The vehicles were clearly marked and were not in an active combat zone. Among the dead were employees from Australia, Poland, Great Britain and a person with Canadian and US citizenship. Three other dead were Palestinian employees.

Representatives of several Western countries, including British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and his Australian counterpart Penny Wong, condemned the attack. “Last night's tragic incident was due to an army attack and we are investigating the circumstances,” the Israel Defense Forces said. There will be a “thorough review at the highest level,” army spokesman Daniel Hagari said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday: “These kinds of things happen in times of war.”

WCK and the American humanitarian organization Anera announced that they would temporarily stop their work in the region. The catastrophic supply situation in the Gaza Strip is deteriorating further. According to Anera, both organizations together provide around two million meals per week. According to several UN organizations, more than a million people in Gaza are already suffering from “catastrophic hunger.” Senior US and UN officials accuse Israel of hindering the delivery of vital aid. Israel denies it.

Supply situation continues to deteriorate

A picture of destruction can be seen at the Al-Shifa Clinic in Gaza City, the largest hospital in the area. After a two-week operation, the Israeli army announced its withdrawal from the clinic on Monday. According to the military, Hamas fighters were killed during the operation and 900 suspects were arrested. Netanyahu spoke of 200 “terrorists” killed and called the operation a great success. However, Israeli leaders had already made similar statements after the first assault on the hospital in November. Hamas denies military use of the facilities.

Shortly before the army launched its attack on the clinic on March 18, there were still thousands of patients, refugees and medical staff there, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. Now images from news agencies show the clinic burned and completely in ruins. According to the Hamas-controlled Civil Defense, around 300 bodies were found around the hospital. It is not known if they are combatants or civilians.

According to the report of one Washington PostPhotographers said there was a smell of decomposition hanging over the area on Sunday. Numerous unverified videos from Palestinians present at the scene show bodies decomposing, burned or apparently crushed by heavy equipment. American broadcaster CNN quotes its Palestinian employee Chader Al Za'anun: “We found entire families dead and decomposing in the houses around the hospital.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are still about a hundred patients in the clinic, which no longer operates 50 doctors.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu wants to close the Qatari television channel Al Jazeera in Israel, which he describes as the “mouthpiece of Hamas.” The station is one of the few that still maintains its own network of correspondents in the Gaza Strip and is one of the stations with the greatest reach in the Arab world. However, he is also criticized for his lack of distance from Hamas. Al Jazeera said it would continue reporting in Israel.

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