Spain’s PM Demands Israel ‘Clarify’ Gaza Strike On Humanitarian Aid Workers


By Fernando Heller 

(EurActiv) — Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Tuesday (2 April) demanded Israel clarify the circumstances of what he called a ‘brutal’ air strike on central Gaza, which claimed the lives of seven volunteers from the NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK), run by Spanish chef José Andrés.

Sánchez, currently on a visit to the region, said he was “horrified” by the “brutal attack” and demanded that the government of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, immediately clarify the circumstances of the incident.

“I demand and hope that the Israeli government clarifies the circumstances of this brutal attack that has taken the lives of seven people who were only engaged in cooperating”, Sánchez told Spanish press.

“Your solidarity, altruism and commitment to those who need it most is a source of pride – the Spanish government is with you”, he added when referring to the victims.

In a statement, the NGO said it was “devastated” by the attack and announced the suspension of its operations in Gaza. It explained that the convoy consisted of two armoured vehicles and one unarmoured vehicle, which bore the NGO’s logo.

WCK also confirmed the victims came from Australia, Poland and the UK, as well as a Palestinian and a dual US-Canadian citizen.

Leader of the Spanish People’s Party (Partido Popular/EPP), Alberto Núñez Feijóo, expressed his support for the Spanish chef and his solidarity with the NGO.

Strong reaction from the EU

“We are mourning with the families and friends of the WCKitchen humanitarian aid workers who lost their lives in Gaza,” the European Commission said on X.

“Humanitarian aid workers must always be protected, in line with international humanitarian law. We call for a thorough investigation into this tragedy”, it added.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the NGO “a crucial partner in alleviating the suffering of the people of Gaza, including by channelling food via the maritime corridor”.

On Tuesday, the EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, called for a thorough investigation into the attack.

“I pay tribute to the @WCKitchen staff members killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza. I condemn the attack and urge an investigation”, he said on X.

“Despite all the demands to protect civilians and humanitarian workers, we see new innocent casualties”, he added.

European Council President Charles Michel said it would be a “long time overdue to stop the slaughter of innocent civilians and humanitarian workers”, also calling for an investigation.

Israel opens an investigation

An independent Israeli body, the Fact-Finding and Investigation Mechanism, will investigate the attack, sources in Tel Aviv confirmed on Tuesday, EFE reported.

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari said he had personally spoken to José Andrés on Tuesday to express his condolences, adding “We will open an investigation to examine this serious incident. This will help us to reduce the risk of a similar event happening again”.


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