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Pope repeats call for Gaza cease-fire after aid worker deaths

Pope Francis Associated Press/Photo by Alessandra Tarantino

Pope repeats call for Gaza cease-fire after aid worker deaths

Pope Francis in a statement on Wednesday expressed sorrow at the deaths of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza this week. The pope’s office has repeatedly called for peace during the conflict.

What happened to the aid workers? The seven aid workers died from an Israeli missile strike on a convoy in what was supposed to be a conflict-free area of Gaza, according to a World Central Kitchen statement on Tuesday. The aid group said it had coordinated its movements with the Israeli military before the strike.

Who were the aid workers? Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha was a native of the region, according to a statement by the group. Lalzawmi Frankcom hailed from Australia. Damian Sobol came from Poland. Jacob Flickinger came from the United States and Canada. And John Chapman, James Henderson, and James Kirby came from the United Kingdom.

Are these sorts of aid worker deaths common? The deaths of the seven WCK aid workers brought the total death toll of aid workers killed in the conflict to 196, according to a Tuesday statement from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The vast majority, 175, were UN staff members, he said. Meanwhile, Israel has accused some UN agency workers of participation in the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.

What has Israel had to say? Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari offered his condolences to the families of the victims and said Israel will conduct an investigation into what happened and do so “transparently.” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called for an impartial investigation into the deaths.

Dig deeper: Read A.S. Ibrahim’s column in WORLD Opinions, which addresses claims that a cease-fire should take place during Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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