Israel-Hamas war: Lord Cameron calls for Israel to provide 'transparent explanation' after British aid worker dies in strike – Sky News

Seven volunteers with World Central Kitchen were helping to deliver aid when their convoy was hit by an airstrike.
Tuesday 2 April 2024 13:39, UK
British Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has called on Israel to prove a “full, transparent explanation” after at least one British aid worker was among seven volunteers killed in a strike on Gaza.
Nationals from Poland and Australia were also killed, as well as a dual citizen of the US and Canada – and a Palestinian who was driving the car they were all travelling in.
The volunteers were employed by World Central Kitchen (WCK), a non-governmental organisation which provides food for displaced Palestinians.
The Associated Press has reported that three British nationals were killed in the strike, citing hospital records. Sky News has been unable to verify these reports.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has acknowledged that Israeli forces were responsible, saying there was a “tragic incident of an unintended strike of our forces on innocent people in the Gaza Strip”.
He added: “It happens in war, we check it to the end, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again.”
Mr Netanyahu was speaking after being released from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem after a successful hernia operation.
His comments came after Lord Cameron said news of the airstrike on the WCK aid workers is “deeply distressing”.
Writing on the X social media platform, he added: “British Nationals are reported to have been killed, we are urgently working to verify this information and will provide full support to their families.
“These were people who were working to deliver life-saving aid to those who desperately need it.
“It is essential that humanitarian workers are protected and able to carry out their work.
“We have called on Israel to immediately investigate and provide a full, transparent explanation of what happened.”
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Meanwhile, WCK chief executive Erin Gore said the team of volunteers was “travelling in a deconflicted zone in two armoured cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle” when it was hit.
Despite coordinating movements with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the convoy was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in the central Gazan town of Deir al Balah, the charity said.
It added it is pausing its operations immediately in the region.
“This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER,” the charity said in a statement.
Ms Gore added: “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.”
The IDF said it is carrying out a “thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”.
Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israel’s chief military spokesperson, said he had expressed “the deepest condolences of the Israel Defense Forces to the families and the entire World Central Kitchen family”.
He said the IDF will be examining the “serious incident further” to “help us reduce the risk of such an event from occurring again”.
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He added: “For the last few months, the IDF has been working closely with the World Central Kitchen to assist them in fulfilling their noble mission of helping bring food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
“WCK also came to help Israelis after the massacre of 7 October; they were one of the first NGOs here.
“The work of WCK is critical… we will get to the bottom of this and we will share our findings transparently.”
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Footage showed the bodies of those killed at al Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al Balah. Several of them wore protective clothing marked with the charity’s logo.
The workers’ car was hit by an airstrike just after crossing from northern Gaza – and it is believed they were helping to deliver aid that had arrived hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus.
Middle East correspondent
That some of the victims were foreigners, including a Briton, should be of no special significance but it will naturally bring greater attention to the immense risks faced by humanitarian workers operating in Gaza, and accusations they are either being deliberately targeted or hit as a result of reckless soldiering.
This incident is a tragic example of a major, unresolved problem with deconfliction which is having a significant impact on aid and humanitarian efforts.
Aid convoys attempting to reach northern Gaza have either been forced to turn back or simply not made the journey because the risk of being hit by Israeli fire was too great.
Israel has not admitted responsibility for last night’s attack, however in past incidences when it has been confident of its innocence, robust and angry denials have been quick to come. Instead they have announced a “thorough review at the highest levels” – whether that will be enough to reassure foreign governments and humanitarian organisations, I’m not sure.
Aid workers will understandably grow increasingly wary about where they move around in Gaza, and of course the people who will be impacted most by that, will be the desperate.
WCK founder Jose Andres described the volunteers as “angels” who had served around the world – and said he was grieving for their families.
He added: “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.”
Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese offered his condolences to the family and friends of the Australian aid worker who died in the incident, who he named as Zomi Frankcom.
Mr Albanese said he has contacted the Israeli ambassador to ask for accountability over Ms Frankcom’s death.
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Founded by celebrity chef Mr Andres in 2010, the WCK said last month it had served more than 42 million meals in Gaza over 175 days.
Mr Andres described those who died as “several of our sisters and brothers” – and wrote on X: “These are people… angels… I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Turkey, Morocco, Bahamas, Indonesia.
“They are not faceless… they are not nameless.”
The aid ships that arrived on Monday carried hundreds of tonnes of food and supplies in a shipment organised by the United Arab Emirates and the WCK.
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