Published On: Tue, Apr 2nd, 2024
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Three British aid workers among those killed in ‘unintentional’ Gaza airstrike | World | News

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza has claimed the lives of three British citizens, with the Government now calling for a “transparent explanation” as to how this tragedy happened. The explosives hit the roof of a car containing the Brits on Monday night (April 1).

Seven aid workers had been inside the vehicle which was struck as it passed through Deir al-Balah, Gaza. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, admitted Tuesday that its armed forces “unintentionally” killed the aid workers in an air strike.

“Unfortunately, in the last day there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” he said. The British individuals who have been killed are not yet named.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “shocked and saddened” by the news while Foreign Secretary David Cameron called for an immediate investigation and urged Israeli officials to provide answers.

Harrowing footage showed the bodies, several wearing protective gear embossed with the charity’s logo, at a hospital in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah. Those killed include three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national, an American-Canadian dual citizen and a Palestinian, according to hospital records.

Other footage of the aftermath showed a vehicle with the charity’s logo printed across its roof to make it identifiable from the air. The strike had ironically blown a gaping hole through the logo as it killed the passengers inside.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he “condemned the strike”, labelling the tally of innocent lives lost as “outrageous and unacceptable.” In a statement he said: “Reports of the death of British nationals – among others from World Central Kitchen – in an Israeli strike on Gaza are horrifying. Our thoughts are with the families of all of those killed.

“We condemn this strike. There must be a full investigation and those responsible must be held to account. Humanitarian workers put their lives in danger to serve others. Their deaths are outrageous and unacceptable – and it is not the first time aid workers have come under fire in Israel’s campaign.”

In the face of a growing humanitarian disaster in Gaza’s north, several countries worked to open a sea route, hoping it would allow more aid to enter. The United States and other countries have also airdropped aid, but humanitarian workers say such efforts on their own are insufficient.

World Central Kitchen, the food charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, called a halt to its work in the Gaza Strip after the strike. The group, which said it will make decisions about longer-term plans in the region soon, has been bringing desperately needed food to Gazans facing widespread hunger.

It also pioneered the recently launched effort to deliver aid by sea from Cyprus. Its absence, even if temporary, is likely to deepen the war-torn territory’s misery as the United Nations warns that famine is imminent.

The Polish Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, has confirmed the death of Damian Sobol, an aid worker, in Gaza. Sobol, hailing from Przemysl, was praised for his bravery in assisting people amid the humanitarian crisis in the region. The Israeli army has taken responsibility for the attack that claimed his life.

President Andrzej Duda expressed deep sorrow over the loss of Sobol and other volunteers from the Polish aid organisation, WCK. He emphasised their impactful service and demanded an explanation for the tragic incident.

Describing Sobol as a remarkable individual, the mayor of Przemysl, Wojciech Bakun, expressed the profound shock felt by those who knew him.

Similarly, Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom, an aid worker from Melbourne, Australia, was remembered for her selflessness and dedication to helping others. Her family mourned her loss, highlighting her legacy of compassion and bravery.

Meanwhile, mourners gathered in Rafah to bid farewell to Seif Issam Abu Taha, the Palestinian driver who also lost his life in the strike.

Founded in 2010, World Central Kitchen delivers freshly prepared meals to people in need following natural disasters, like hurricanes or earthquakes, or to those enduring conflict. The group has also provided meals to migrants arriving at the southern US border, as well as to hospital staff who worked relentlessly during the coronavirus pandemic.

The aid group sends in teams who can cook meals that appeal to the local palate on a large scale and fast.

“When you talk about food and water, people don’t want a solution one week from now, one month from now. The solution has to be now,” Andrés is quoted as saying on the group’s website.

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