‘We were targeted deliberately’: Chef José Andrés accuses Israel of killing his aid workers in Gaza and wants US investigation

In an emotional interview, the renowned chef José Andrés accused Israeli forces of deliberately targeting a convoy of his World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza, leaving seven dead. Mr. Andrés is now calling for an independent U.S. government investigation into the deadly airstrike.

The victims, from multiple nations including the United States, were in Gaza to distribute food to civilians caught in the crossfire between Israel and Palestinian militants. The April 1st attack occurred after weeks of escalating violence in the region.

“What I know is that we were targeted deliberately, nonstop until everybody was dead in this convoy,” Mr. Andrés told Reuters on Tuesday. “This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place.”

The acclaimed Spanish-American chef, who has earned fame for his humanitarian work delivering meals during global crises, said his organization clearly communicated its movements to Israeli military. The aid vehicles were visibly marked with the charity’s bright logo.

“This was over a 1.5, 1.8 kilometers, with a very defined humanitarian convoy that had signs on the top, on the roofs, a very colorful logo,” he recounted. “It was very clear who we are and what we do.”

Israel has expressed “extreme sorrow” over the deadly incident but maintains the strike was unintentional. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated the attack on aid workers was not deliberate.

However, Mr. Andrés firmly rejected this claim, stating “Initially, I would say categorically no.” He accused Israel of war crimes and demanded full accountability.

In a New York Times opinion piece titled “The People of Israel Must Remember What Strength Looks Like,” the chef wrote, “Prime Minister Netanyahu has said of the Israeli killings of our team, ‘It happens in war.’ It was a direct attack on clearly marked vehicles whose movements were known by the Israel Defense Forces.”

Mr. Andrés and World Central Kitchen’s leadership are urgently calling for Israel to preserve all relevant evidence for an impartial, international investigation led by the U.S. and involving the home countries of each victim.

“We welcome the government’s promise of an investigation into how and why members of our World Central Kitchen family were killed,” the opinion piece reads. “That investigation needs to start at the top, not just the bottom.”

President Joe Biden, who spoke with Mr. Netanyahu on Thursday, has denounced the killings as “outrageous” and demanded Israeli accountability. However, the president stopped short of directly accusing Israel of intentionally targeting the aid workers.

“Israel’s investigation must be swift, it must bring accountability, and its findings must be made public,” Mr. Biden stated on Monday. The U.S. leader said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the attack.

For the chef known for his pioneering food relief efforts globally, the deadly Gaza incident represents an unimaginable tragedy. World Central Kitchen has developed a reputation for heroically delivering meals to war zones, natural disaster areas, and other crisis situations worldwide.

Yet the loss hasn’t diminished Mr. Andrés’ humanitarian resolve. In his opinion piece, the chef defiantly vowed, “It is not a sign of weakness to feed strangers; it is a sign of strength.”

As calls for justice grew louder, the World Central Kitchen founder implored Israelis to reckon with the killings and stay true to the nation’s values of compassion.

“The people of Israel need to remember, at this darkest hour, what strength truly looks like,” Mr. Andrés wrote solemnly.

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