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WASHINGTON: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave Palestinian flags as they call for a ceasefire in Gaza during a protest as part of the “People’s White House Ceasefire Now Iftar” outside the White House on April 2, 2024. - AFP
WASHINGTON: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave Palestinian flags as they call for a ceasefire in Gaza during a protest as part of the “People’s White House Ceasefire Now Iftar” outside the White House on April 2, 2024. - AFP
Outrage over killing of aid workers; Palestine eyes UN membership

GAZA: The bodies of six foreign aid workers killed in a Gaza strike were being transported out of the war-torn Palestinian territory on Wednesday as the Zionist entity faced a chorus of outrage over their deaths. Zionist bombardment killed seven staff of the US-based food charity World Central Kitchen on Monday in an attack that UN chief Antonio Guterres labeled “unconscionable” and “an inevitable result of the way the war is being conducted”.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, have revived their application to become a full member state in the United Nations. In a letter to Guterres that was seen by AFP, Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour requested “upon instructions of the Palestinian leadership” that an application dating back to 2011 be reconsidered this month by the Security Council. Malta, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency, said Mansour’s letter was “received and circulated” to council members, adding that talks would be held “on a way forward”.

The League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement sent a letter to Guterres on Tuesday, supporting the bid by the Palestinians. “We wish to bring to your attention that, as of this date, 140 Member States have recognized the state of Palestine,” said the joint letter, which included a list of those countries.

The Zionist entity’s campaign in Gaza has killed at least 32,916 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry. Overnight, Zionist strikes killed at least 60 more people, the ministry said. The remains of the six international staff, who were killed alongside one Palestinian colleague, were set to be taken out of Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, said Marwan Al-Hams, director of the city’s Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital.

The Zionist armed forces chief Herzi Halevi called the attack a “grave mistake”, which he blamed on nighttime “misidentification”, adding in a video message that “we are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK”. The seven deaths piled more pressure on the Zionist entity, whose war has brought devastation and mass civilian casualties to Gaza, where the UN warns the population of 2.4 million is on the brink of famine.

US President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the deaths and charged that the Zionist entity “has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians”. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had voiced his “anger and concern” in a phone call with Netanyahu, while Britain summoned the Zionist ambassador and demanded “full accountability”. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk wrote on X to Netanyahu and the Zionist entity’s ambassador, saying the deaths were straining ties and that “the tragic attack against volunteers and your reaction are generating an understandable anger”.

Kuwait’s ministry of foreign affairs expressed on Tuesday Kuwait’s condemnation of the raid. In a statement, the foreign ministry said Kuwait deplores the Zionist occupation forces’ continued attacks on relief institutions and humanitarian organizations and their disregard for the demands of the international community to stop these massacres. The ministry stressed the need for the Security Council to assume the responsibilities entrusted to it towards maintaining and protecting international peace and security and ensuring that relief aid reaches the Gaza Strip without obstacles or restrictions.

Pope Francis expressed his “deep sorrow” and renewed his appeal for access to aid for the “exhausted and suffering civilian population” of Gaza, and for hostages taken by Hamas to be released. The charity said it was mourning the loss of its seven “heroes” and “beautiful souls”. It said they had been killed in a “targeted attack” that was launched despite the group having coordinated its movements with Zionist forces.

It named those killed as Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25; Australian Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, 43; Britons John Chapman, 57, James (Jim) Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47; Pole Damian Sobol, 35; and US-Canadian Jacob Flickinger, 33. After their deaths, the charity suspended operations and a ship that had carried food aid from Cyprus to Gaza turned back towards the Mediterranean island with around 240 tons of supplies that had not been unloaded. – Agencies

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