What We Know About the Strike That Killed World Central Kitchen Workers in Gaza

Seven aid workers with World Central Kitchen were killed in the Gaza Strip when their convoy came under fire on Monday night, according to the aid organization and Gazan health officials.

The disaster relief organization, founded by the Spanish chef José Andrés, said the convoy was hit in an Israeli strike. In a statement following the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel referred to a “tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people.” He said Israel was in touch with foreign governments over the episode.

Here’s what we know.

The World Central Kitchen staff members were leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah, a city in the central Gaza Strip, when their convoy — two armored cars and a third vehicle — came under fire late Monday, the organization said in a statement.

The Israeli military had been informed of the aid workers’ movements, the charity said. Aid workers had just unloaded more than 100 tons of food brought to Gaza by sea at the warehouse, according to the group.

Videos and photos verified by The New York Times suggest the convoy was hit multiple times. The imagery shows three destroyed white vehicles, with the northernmost and southernmost vehicles nearly a mile and a half apart.

The World Central Kitchen logo could be seen on items inside the charred interiors of the northernmost and southernmost cars. The car in the middle was left with a gaping hole in its roof, which was clearly marked with the group’s logo. All three vehicles, though far apart from each other, were on or near the Al-Rashid coastal road.

It remained unclear on Tuesday morning what sort of munition struck the cars and whether those explosives were launched from the ground, a warplane or a drone.

World Central Kitchen said one of those killed was a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, while the others were from Australia, Britain, Gaza and Poland. In a post with the victims’ names and ages on the group’s website, its chief executive, Erin Gore, said “We are reeling from our loss.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia identified one of the victims as Zomi Frankcom, an Australian citizen and a senior manager at World Central Kitchen. “The tributes flowing for Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom tell the story of a life dedicated to the service of others, including her fellow Australians during natural disasters,” Penny Wong, the country’s foreign minister, said on social media.

Damian Sobol, an aid worker from the southeastern Polish city of Przemysl, died in the attack, according to the city’s mayor, Wojciech Bakun. “There are no words to describe what people who knew this fantastic guy feel at this moment,” he said in a post on social media.

David Cameron, the British foreign secretary, said on social media that three of the aid workers who were killed were British citizens. The BBC reported their names: John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby. Local British media outlets described Mr. Chapman and Mr. Henderson as former Royal Marines who later turned to volunteer work.

Jacob Flickinger, who also died in the attack, was a 33-year-old dual citizen of the United States and Canada, according to the World Central Kitchen, and worked on the group’s relief team.

Palestinian medics retrieved the bodies of the seven victims and took them to a hospital in Deir al Balah, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. The bodies of the foreigners were to be taken out of Gaza into Egypt, the group said.

Saif Abutaha, a 25-year-old Gazan working as a driver and translator for World Central Kitchen, also died in the attack. Mr. Abutaha was an enterprising young man who worked in his father’s business and spoke good English, his brother Shadi said.

Mr. Abutaha and other World Central Kitchen workers were thrilled to have the opportunity to unload the desperately needed food aid. “They were so excited, like they were going to a wedding,” his brother said. It was the last time he saw him.

Mr. Cameron said on social media that “it is essential that humanitarian workers are protected and able to carry out their work.” He called on Israel “to immediately investigate and provide a full, transparent explanation of what happened.”

At least 196 aid workers were killed in Gaza and the West Bank between October 2023 and late March, according to Jamie McGoldrick, a senior U.N. relief official. “This is not an isolated incident,” he said, later adding: “There is no safe place left in Gaza.”

In a video statement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel referred to a “tragic case of our forces unintentionally harming innocent people in the Gaza Strip.” Mr. Netanyahu did not name World Central Kitchen in his remarks.

But an Israeli official familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the strike was still under investigation, clarified that the prime minister was referring to the strike.

“It happens in war, we are fully examining this, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

An Israeli military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal investigation, said the military had concluded it was responsible for the strike on the convoy. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israeli military chief of staff, is expected to review findings of an initial inquiry into the incident on Tuesday evening, the official said.

A spokesman for Israel’s military, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said the investigation had been referred to the Fact Finding and Assessment Mechanism, a military body tasked with investigating accusations and looking into the circumstances behind battlefield episodes. “We will be opening a probe to examine this serious incident further,” he said. “This will help us reduce the risk of such an event from occurring again.”

The Israeli military said the mechanism was an “independent, professional and expert body.” Human rights groups have generally been critical of the Israeli military’s ability to transparently investigate itself, charging that inquiries are often long and rarely lead to indictments.

At the time of the strike, workers had unloaded 100 tons of aid from the Jennifer, a World Central Kitchen vessel that had left the Cypriot port of Larnaca last weekend and arrived in Gaza on Monday. Another 240 tons were to be unloaded on Tuesday, according to Theodoros Gotsis, a spokesman for the Cypriot foreign ministry.

Mr. Gotsis said that the Jennifer instead left Gaza to sail back to Larnaca on Tuesday. He added that several more tons of aid were waiting at warehouses in Larnaca, but that it was not clear when and whether a mission to deliver them would take place.

Patrick Kingsley, Rawan Sheikh Ahmad, Gabby Sobelman, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Lauren Leatherby, Nader Ibrahim and Kim Severson contributed reporting to this article.