Cyprus calls on world to condemn deadly Israeli attack on aid workers in Gaza

Ahram Online , Tuesday 2 Apr 2024

The international community must condemn the deadly Israeli attack on the World Central Kitchen (WCK) organization and the unjust loss of lives, said Konstantinos Letymbiotis, Cypriot government spokesperson, on Tuesday.

File photo: The ship belonging to Spanish aid group Open Arms that transports food aid from aid group World Central Kitchen to Gaza is seen on dock as waiting to depart for Gaza, at Larnaca port, Cyprus, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. AP


WCK said it was suspending all humanitarian operations in Gaza after a "targeted Israeli strike" killed seven of its staff as they unloaded desperately needed aid brought by sea to the besieged territory.

The US non-profit – one of two NGOs spearheading efforts to deliver aid by boat – noted that among those killed were Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian staff.

Cyprus's Letymbiotis told the press that there needs to be a re-coordination of the humanitarian corridor initiative from Larnaka port in Cyprus.

The spokesperson described the death of civilians, especially workers who were distributing aid, as absolutely reprehensible and in violation of international humanitarian law.

In an answer to a question on whether Nicosia plans to protest the incident to Tel Aviv, Letymbiotis said that Cyprus would wait for a full investigation to be completed.

He added that they are in contact with the WCK and international partners not only to express support but also to coordinate and investigate the incident in depth.

The spokesperson said that the humanitarian initiative from Larnaka would not be affected, however, there needs to be some coordination to ensure that all conditions are safe.

WCK and the Spanish aid group Open Arms started delivering aid via the Cypriot port of Larnaca last month.

The decision to use the Cypriot maritime corridor comes in response to Israel's repeated closure of land crossings into Gaza and its deliberate targeting of aid convoys that have prevented the delivery of aid to areas hit the hardest by the Israeli-made famine.

The US has also announced separate plans to construct a pier to deliver aid by sea.

In addition to the maritime route, many countries have started airdropping supplies to the isolated region of northern Gaza.

However, the airdrops have been criticized for resulting in the deaths of tens of Palestinians, some of them drowned in a desperate attempt to get food supplies off the crates.

Withstanding all this, the aid delivered into Gaza has been described by the UN and other humanitarian organizations as being a drop in the ocean, stressing that there is no alternative to opening all land crossings to allow aid into Gaza.

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