WORLD NEWS

British national among aid workers killed in Gaza

Distribution of Humanitarian Aid

The World Central Kitchen charity say seven of their workers lost their lives in an airstrike.

A British national is among seven aid workers killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity has said.

Seven aid workers from the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, dual citizens of the US and Canada, and Palestine were killed while travelling in a deconflicted zone, WCK said in a statement.

They travelled in two armoured cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft-skin vehicle.

Despite co-ordinating WCK’s moves with the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), the charity says the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tonnes of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.

WCK chief executive Erin Gore said in a statement: “This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organisations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war.

“This is unforgivable.

“I am heartbroken and appalled that we—World Central Kitchen and the world—lost beautiful lives today because of a targeted attack by the IDF.

“The love they had for feeding people, the determination they embodied to show that humanity rises above all, and the impact they made in countless lives will forever be remembered and cherished.”

WCK’s founder, celebrity chef Jose Andres, said in a post on X: “Today @WCKitchen lost several of our sisters and brothers in an IDF air strike in Gaza.

“I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family. These are people…angels…I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Turkey, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia. They are not faceless…they are not nameless.

“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing. It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives lost.

“Peace starts with our shared humanity. It needs to start now.”

The IDF says it is “carrying out an in-depth examination at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”.

WCK has paused operations immediately in the region.

Footage on social media showed the bodies of the dead, with several of them dressed in protective gear bearing the charity’s logo, along with their passports.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says his government has requested an explanation from Israel of how the incident occurred.

Mr Albanese said Israel’s ambassador to Australia Amir Maimon was asked to call Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and explain how 44-year-old Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom from Melbourne came to be killed.

He told reporters: “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.”

According to a statement issued to The Guardian by Ms Frankcom’s family, she died “doing the work she loves”.

“We are deeply mourning the news that our brave and beloved Zomi has been killed doing the work she loves, delivering food to the people of Gaza.”

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