Chef José Andrés Says IDF Bombing of World Central Kitchen Volunteers Was No Accident: ‘They Were Targeting Us’

An Israeli military spokesperson says the deaths of seven humanitarian aid workers on Monday was a “grave mistake”

Jose Andres
Chef Jose Andres meets with Democratic Sen. Chris Coons from Delaware about getting humanitarian aid to Gaza (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Chef José Andrés said on Wednesday that he does not believe that the bombing deaths of seven World Central Kitchen volunteers, including their security team, in Gaza on Monday were an accident.

“They were targeting us in a de-conflicted zone, in an area controlled by IDF. They [knew] that it was our teams moving on that road … with three cars,” Andrés told Reuters. He believes that his team was targeted “systematically, car by car.”

“This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” Andrés insisted, saying that the charity group had clearly communicated their location to the Israeli military as they traveled in two armored cars and another vehicle. In a separate editorial for the New York Times published Wednesday, he wrote that the convoy had clearance from IDF to proceed.

“This was over a 1.5, 1.8 kilometers, with a very defined humanitarian convoy that had signs in the top, in the roof, a very colorful logo that we are obviously very proud of,” he said, describing the distinctive WKC vehicles. “[It’s] very clear who we are and what we do.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video on Tuesday in which he called the airstrike unintentional. “Unfortunately in the past day, there was a tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “This happens in war. We are conducting a thorough inquiry and are in contact with the governments. We will do everything to prevent a recurrence.”

In response to Andrés’ comments on Wednesday, a military spokesperson repeated the previous comments from IDF chief of staff Herzi Halevi in which he said the attack “was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers.”

World Central Kitchen workers killed in Gaza
A vehicle in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, on April 2, where employees from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed in an Israeli airstrike, according to the NGO (Credit: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto)

In his editorial for the Times titled “Let People Eat,” “Andrés wrote, “The seven people killed on a World Central Kitchen mission in Gaza on Monday were the best of humanity. They are not faceless or nameless.”

He named all seven victims — Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, John Chapman, Jacob Flickinger, Zomi Frankcom, James Henderson, James Kirby and Damian Sobol — saying they “risked everything for the most fundamentally human activity: to share our food with others.”

He cited a statistic from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification global initiative that half the population of Gaza — 1.1 million people — face famine. “The team members put their lives at risk precisely because this food aid is so rare and desperately needed,” he said.

As a result of the catastrophic airstrike, World Central Kitchen has temporarily suspended operations in Gaza. WKC has also been active in Ukraine, where they came under fire by Russian forces in 2022.


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