Aid ships turn back to Cyprus from Gaza after Israeli strike on aid workers kills 7

Aid ships turn back to Cyprus from Gaza after Israeli strike on aid workers kills 7
Cyprus says that ships with around 240 tonnes of undelivered aid will be turning back after seven aid workers were killed by an Israeli strike.
2 min read
02 April, 2024
Around 240 tonnes of undelivered aid will be turning back from Gaza after an Israeli strike killed seven aid workers [GETTY]

Cyprus announced on Tuesday that ships carrying around 240 tonnes of aid for Gaza will be turning back, following Israel’s attack which killed seven aid workers.

Three aid ships from Cyprus had arrived on Monday carrying hundreds of tonnes of food and supplies organised by the World Central Kitchen and the United Arab Emirates.

Around 100 tonnes of the aid was unloaded before the charities suspended operations.

Cyprus’ foreign ministry spokesperson Theodoros Gotsis said that the remaining 240 tonnes will be sent back to Cyprus.

Israel’s strike on Monday killed Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian staff, causing global outrage.

World Central Kitchen said that the aid effort was coordinated by the Israeli army and was travelling in vehicles branded with its logo.

Last week, a three-ship convoy left Cyprus’ Larnaca Port carrying around 400 tonnes of food and other supplies, amid widespread hunger caused by Israel’s siege and bombardment of Gaza.

Cyprus has played a key role in trying to establish a maritime aid corridor to Gaza from its port city of Larnaca.

However, the attack has forced the charity to cease its operations in Gaza while it reviews its security protocols.

Both the US and Britain have led international criticism over the strike.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the strike was "unintentional". The Israeli army has vowed to hold an investigation and promised to "share our findings transparently".

"It happens in war, we check it to the end, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again," Netanyahu said in a video message, confirming that “innocent people” were killed.

Widespread starvation

Israel's latest attack on aid workers in Gaza comes as the Palestinian enclave experiences what Oxfam has described as "catastrophic levels of hunger".

Israel cut off all aid, food, electricity, food, fuel and water off for Gaza since 9 October.

“Northern Gaza is days away from famine and the rest of Gaza faces a similar fate. Children are already dying of malnutrition and starvation under the gaze of the international community," Oxfam's Middle East and north Africa Director, Sally Abi Khalil, said.

"Since December, the number of people in Gaza who have plunged into catastrophic levels of hunger, has nearly doubled," she added. 

Israeli forces have killed 32,916 people in Gaza, and wounded a further 75,500, according to Gaza's health ministry. Thousands more Palestinians are still missing, with many presumed to be under the rubble.