WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has called world-renowned chef José Andrés “to express that he’s heartbroken” after an Israeli airstrike killed seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip from the chef’s World Central Kitchen organization.

“The president conveyed he is grieving with the entire World Central Kitchen family,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during the daily press briefing.

She continued: “The president felt it was important to recognize the tremendous contribution World Central Kitchen has made to the people in Gaza and people around the world. The president conveyed he will make clear to Israel that humanitarian aid workers must be protected.”

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who joined the press briefing, said the Biden administration is “outraged” by the strike, which Israel said unintentionally killed the aid workers Monday. The Israel Defense Forces said it would conduct a preliminary investigation into the incident, and Kirby said he expects Israel to also perform a broader investigation.

World Central Kitchen vehicles struck in Gaza
People gather around a destroyed car used by World Central Kitchen that was hit by an Israeli strike in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza.AFP via Getty Images

“We hope that those findings will be made public and that there is appropriate accountability held,” he said.

More than 200 aid workers have been killed during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, said Kirby, who added that the “incident is emblematic of a larger problem and evidence of why distribution of aid in Gaza has been so challenging.”

“The U.S. will continue to press Israel to do more as well to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers, and we’ll continue to do all we can to deliver this assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” he said.

Andrés wrote in a post on X that he was “heartbroken and grieving” for his colleagues who were killed.

“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing,” he wrote. “It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon.”

The nonprofit group, one of only a few providing food directly to Palestinians amid broader fears of famine, said it was immediately pausing operations in the region.

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