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Ships to turn back from Gaza with 240 tonnes of undelivered aid: Cyprus

This image shows one of the World Central Kitchen vehicles targeted by Israel as it was passing through a “deconflicted zone” in the besieged Gaza Strip, April 2, 2024. (Photo by Reuters)

Ships loaded with humanitarian aid for the Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip will turn back in the wake of a deadly strike by the Israeli regime forces on relief workers.

Cyprus’ foreign minister said on Tuesday that undelivered food and supplies were being returned after aid groups suspended operations due to the brutal killing of members of an international charity.

Seven World Central Kitchen workers were killed in the Israeli strike on vehicles used by the US-based charity organization.

Minister Constantinos Kombos said the charity is suspending its operations in Gaza out of respect for the victims as well as to review its security protocols. Cargo ships loaded with 240 tonnes of canned food destined for Gaza were preparing to return.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Theodoros Gotsis had said earlier that around 100 tonnes of aid had been unloaded before the World Central Kitchen suspended operations after its workers were killed.

Cyprus’ port city of Larnaca has played a key role in trying to establish a maritime aid corridor to Gaza. Those efforts suffered a major setback when the World Central Kitchen halted operations.

The World Central Kitchen said its aid workers were traveling in a “deconflicted zone” in two armored cars branded with the charity’s logo as well as “a soft skin vehicle.”

Despite coordinating movements with the Israeli military, “the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tonnes of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route,” the group said in a statement.

The Israeli regime has acknowledged the strike, claiming it will carry out an independent investigation into the attack.

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