NGO workers die on Gaza aid ships, prompting return to Cyprus

The Open Arms, a rescue vessel owned by a Spanish NGO arrives at the port of Larnaca after pausing the mission of delivering humanitarian aid for Gaza, following the killing of seven aid workers in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, in Larnaca, Cyprus, April 3, 2024. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou
A maritime convoy carrying undelivered food for Gaza returned to Cyprus after World Central Kitchen aid workers were killed in an Israeli airstrike. The cargo ship, originally carrying 240 tons of food, sailed back to Larnaca, Cyprus, after the deadly attack. The aid operation by WCK was suspended after the killings.
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A maritime convoy carrying food for Gaza had to return to Cyprus after aid workers from the World Central Kitchen were killed in an Israeli camp airstrike. The cargo ship carrying 240 tons of food meant for Gaza had to sail back to Larnaca, Cyprus, after the deadly attack, with another ship from a Spanish NGO also arriving early. The aid shipment was part of a larger delivery of 340 tons sent from Cyprus to Gaza on March 30, with aid workers killed after unloading part of the shipment.

The World Central Kitchen, which had been active in Gaza since October, suspended its operations in the area following the killings and sent its fleet of ships back to Cyprus. Cyprus has offered to help facilitate aid entering Gaza by sea with a security vetting process on the island for aid monitored by Israel. In March, the WCK had launched a maritime corridor to transport relief supplies from Cyprus to Gaza, aiming to provide essential assistance to the besieged enclave.

The situation highlights the challenges faced in providing aid to Gaza, as the ongoing conflict and violence in the region pose significant obstacles to humanitarian efforts. The return of the aid convoy underscores the dangers that aid workers face in delivering essential supplies to those in need. Despite the setbacks, efforts are being made to ensure that aid can still reach Gaza, with Cyprus offering assistance in facilitating the process.

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