The Latest | Aid group says Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed at least 7 of its workers

An aid group says an Israeli airstrike on its workers in Gaza killed at least seven people, including several foreigners.

The World Central Kitchen, the food charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, said early Tuesday that the seven killed include citizens of Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom and a U.S.-Canada dual citizen. It did not provide a breakdown and said at least one Palestinian was also killed.

It said the workers were in the process of delivering desperately needed food aid that had arrived by sea on Monday when they were struck late that evening. Israel has said it is investigating the incident.

Also Tuesday, Iran’s official IRNA news agency said Tehran sent an “important” message to the United States over an alleged Israeli airstrike at the Iranian consulate in Syria that killed two Iranian generals and five officers.

Iran relayed the message after it summoned a Swiss envoy in Tehran late Monday, the report said. It did not provide more details about the message but said Iran claimed the U.S. had “responsibility” for the strike. Switzerland has looked out for America’s interests in Iran since the 1979 U.S. Embassy hostage crisis.

Israel’s war in Gaza has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, the territory’s Health Ministry says. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally, but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead. The war began on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 people hostage.

Currently:

Aid group says Israeli strike kills 7 of its workers in Gaza, including foreigners

Israeli strike on Iran’s consulate in Syria killed 2 generals and 5 other officers, Iran says

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— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here’s the latest:

AID GROUP SAYS ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE KILLS AT LEAST 7 OF ITS WORKERS, INCLUDING FOREIGNERS

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — An apparent Israeli airstrike killed six international aid workers with the World Central Kitchen charity and their Palestinian driver, the aid group said Tuesday, hours after it brought a new shipload of food into northern Gaza, which has been isolated and pushed to the brink of famine by Israel’s offensive.

Footage showed the bodies of the dead at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah. Several of them wore protective gear with the charity’s logo.

The food charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés said early Tuesday that the seven killed include citizens of Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom and a U.S.-Canada dual citizen.

“This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER,” WCK spokeswoman Linda Roth said in a statement.

The source of fire late Monday could not be independently confirmed. The Israeli military said it was conducting a review “to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Tuesday his government requested an explanation from Israel of how four international aid workers including an Australian woman were killed in the apparent airstrike in Gaza.

“This is someone who was volunteering overseas to provide aid through this charity for people who are suffering tremendous deprivation in Gaza. And this is just completely unacceptable,” Albanese told reporters.

“We want full accountability for this because this is a tragedy that should never have occurred,” Albanese added.

JAPAN WILL LIFT FUNDING FREEZE ON UN AGENCY SUPPORTING PALESTINIAN REFUGEES

TOKYO — Japan says it will lift a funding freeze on a United Nations’ agency supporting Palestinian refugees that Tokyo had imposed in response to the alleged involvement of the agency’s staff in last year’s Hamas attack on Israel.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa told reporters on Tuesday that Japan will resume its $35 million contribution planned for 2023 for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA.

“The humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territory (of Gaza) continues to worsen, and there is no time to waste,” Kamikawa said. “As a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Japan has a responsibility to respond to the crisis, and UNRWA’s involvement is indispensable to carry out the humanitarian support.”

The resumption comes days after UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini visited Tokyo seeking Japan’s funding resumption. In his meeting with Kamikawa, Lazzarini pledged a monitoring mechanism as part of the agency’s effort to step up transparency, neutrality and staff training.

Japan joined the United States and other countries in January in suspending funding for the U.N. agency following the alleged involvement of a dozen UNRWA staffers in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

IRAN SENDS ‘IMPORTANT’ MESSAGE TO US OVER AIRSTRIKE AT IRANIAN CONSULATE IN SYRIA

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s official IRNA news agency says Tehran has sent an “important” message to the United States over an alleged Israeli airstrike at the Iranian consulate in Syria that killed two Iranian generals and five officers.

Iran relayed the message after it summoned a Swiss envoy in Tehran, the report said Tuesday. It did not provide more details about the message but said Iran claimed the U.S. had “responsibility” for the strike. Switzerland has looked out for America’s interests in Iran since the 1979 U.S. Embassy hostage crisis.

Iran’s envoy to the U.N also asked in a letter for an “immediate” U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss the strike.

President Ebrahim Raisi attended a Supreme National Security Council meeting Monday night to discuss the strike, Iranian state TV reported. It said the meeting decided on a “required” reaction to the strike but gave no details. The council is in charge of important decisions on domestic and foreign issues.

Groups of people rallied Monday night to protest the strike in several cities in Iran, state TV said Tuesday, noting that protesters demanded retaliatory action against Israel. Some burned Israeli and the U.S. flags.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard on Monday said that seven of its members including two generals were killed in an Israeli airstrike that struck the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital.

It was the deadliest strike on an Iranian diplomatic post in decades and appeared to signify an escalation of Israel’s targeting of Iranian military officials and their allies in Syria. Such strikes have intensified since Hamas militants — who are supported by Iran — attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

In 1998, eight Iranian diplomats and staff of the country’s consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif city in Afghanistan were killed during a raid on the diplomatic site as the Taliban were battling to take control of the city.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT SAYS PALESTINIANS EXPECTED TO SEND LETTER REQUESTING FULL MEMBERSHIP

UNITED NATIONS – The president of the U.N. Security Council says the Palestinians are expected to send a letter in the next few days outlining their request for full membership in the United Nations.

Malta’s U.N. Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, whose country took over the rotating president on Monday, said once the letter is received it will be shared with council members and will then likely be discussed in a closed meeting.

Frazier said the council’s monthly Mideast meeting on April 18 will be at ministerial meeting, which is expected to focus on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and the council’s demand for a cease-fire during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which ends on April 9 and which both parties have rejected.

The Palestinian request for full U.N. membership is also expected to be raised at the meeting, assuming the letter has been received, she said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered the Palestinian Authority’s application to become the 194th member of the United Nations to then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 23, 2011, before addressing world leaders at the General Assembly.

That bid failed because the Palestinians failed to get the required support of nine of the Security Council’s 15 members. Even if they did, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, had promised to veto any council resolution endorsing Palestinian membership.

FRANCE CIRCULATES PROPOSED UN RESOLUTION CALLING FOR CEASE-FIRE

UNITED NATIONS – France circulated a proposed new U.N. resolution that would call for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and the immediate release of all hostages seized during Hamas’ surprise attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

France’s U.N. Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere told reporters before presenting the draft resolution to Security Council members at a closed meeting late Monday that the draft resolution has no “time limitation,” stressing that “we want to move to a permanent cease-fire.”

The Security Council issued its first demand for a cease-fire last Monday for the remainder of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which ends April 9. The United States, Israel’s close ally, abstained, angering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who canceled a visit to Washington by a high-level delegation in their strongest public clash since the war began. Both Israel and Hamas rejected the council’s demands.

De Riviere said the draft resolution condemns Hamas’ “terrorist attacks” on Oct. 7 – something the Security Council has refused to do in two previous humanitarian resolutions and the Ramadan cease-fire resolution.

The proposed resolution also demands immediate humanitarian access throughout Gaza, where hunger is rife and starvation has already led to the deaths of children.

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