Spanish charity working with WCK suspends Gaza aid maritime mission after deadly strike

The Open Arms vessel which ferried food rations provided by aid group World Central Kitchen and slated for the Gaza Strip, is docked in the port of Larnaca on the southern coast of Cyprus on April 3, 2024. (Etienne Torbey/AFP)
The Open Arms vessel which ferried food rations provided by aid group World Central Kitchen and slated for the Gaza Strip, is docked in the port of Larnaca on the southern coast of Cyprus on April 3, 2024. (Etienne Torbey/AFP)

Spanish nongovernmental organization Open Arms says it is joining US charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) in suspending attempts to get aid to Gaza via sea after seven WCK workers were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Monday.

The two charities had worked together in launching a maritime corridor of humanitarian aid to Gaza from Cyprus in March, and had just completed unloading about a third of the shipped cargo when the convoy of WCK workers was hit on April 1.

“This attack, perpetrated by the Israeli Defense Forces last Monday, marks a painful turning point in our efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Open Arms says in a written statement.

About 240 metric tons of food returned to Cyprus yesterday in a ship convoy led by the Open Arms’s salvage ship after the offloading operation was halted in the wake of the killings.

“With the arrival yesterday of the Open Arms ship in Larnaca, Cyprus, the mission in alliance with WCK in the humanitarian corridor to the Gaza Strip is suspended,” Open Arms says.

It quotes Open Arms director Oscar Camps calling Gaza a “dystopian laboratory where people’s blood flows while war technologies are tested and perfected, directed by increasingly automated algorithms that allow all human responsibility to be diluted, using technology and trivializing evil.”

“Now states are rushing to extend their condolences to the families, but they are not showing the same rush to stop the shipment of weapons to this laboratory of destruction,” Camps says. “How much more humanity must be lost in this genocide?”

Israel on Tuesday acknowledged mistakenly carrying out the airstrike that killed seven WCK staff members who were unloading food brought by sea to the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing war there since Hamas’s October 7 massacre.

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