Middle East latest: Ships loaded with 240 tonnes of aid to leave Gaza – as Israeli PM says 'unintended strike' killed … – Sky News

Some of Israel’s closest allies have condemned the killing of seven aid workers in Gaza, including three Britons. Meanwhile, US officials are watching closely to see if Iran-backed proxies attack US troops following an Israeli strike that Iran says hit its embassy compound.
Wednesday 3 April 2024 08:51, UK
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Poland’s prime minister has said the attack that killed seven aid workers has put his country’s solidarity with Israel to the test.
Israel has said the attack – which killed a Polish national, along with others including three Britons – was “unintended” but a number of its allies have voiced anger in response.
Donald Tusk’s message on X was addressed to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne.
He said “the vast majority of Poles showed full solidarity with Israel after the Hamas attack”.
“Today you are putting this solidarity to a really hard test.
“The tragic attack on volunteers and your reaction arouse understandable anger.”
A Palestinian from northern Israel injured four police officers in a car-ramming attack and tried to stab security personnel at a checkpoint overnight, Israeli police have said.
The police officers were lightly wounded.
The 26-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel was killed by police.
Palestinians are about 20% of Israel’s population – they have citizenship and the right to vote but are widely discriminated against.
NHS staff are blockading the entrance to NHS England’s headquarters in central London today, calling for the organisation’s contract with Palantir to be cancelled.
Palantir was awarded a £330m contract late last year to create a new data management system, leading to privacy concerns around patients’ medical details.
Campaigners say Palantir supplies technology to Israel’s military and, earlier this month, NBC reported the company’s chief executive Alex Karp as saying he had lost employees over his public support for Israel.
Mr Karp was quoted as saying that he was “exceedingly proud that after 7 October (when the war began between Israel and Hamas), within weeks, we are on the ground and we are involved in operationally crucial operations in Israel”.
Palantir held its first board meeting of the year in Israel in January and, soon afterwards, it agreed to a “strategic partnership” with the Israeli Ministry of Defence to supply technology for the country’s military efforts.
US officials have told Reuters they are watching closely to see if, as in the past, Iran-backed proxies attack US troops in the Middle East following an Israeli strike that Iran says hit its embassy compound.
Hossein Akbari, Tehran’s ambassador to Damascus, promised the Iranian response to Sunday’s strike – which Israel denies hit an embassy building – would be “harsh”.
Two Iranian generals and five military advisers were killed.

US officials told Reuters they had not yet picked up intelligence suggesting Iran-backed groups were looking to attack US troops.
US deputy ambassador to the UN Robert Wood warned Tehran yesterday: “We will not hesitate to defend our personnel and repeat our prior warnings to Iran and its proxies not to take advantage of the situation… to resume their attacks on US personnel.”
One source said Iran faced the conundrum of wanting to respond to deter further strikes while avoiding an all-out war. 
“They are trying to modulate their actions in a way that shows that they are responsive but not escalatory.
“If they don’t respond in this case, it really would be a signal that their deterrence is a paper tiger.”
The official said given the significance of the Israeli strike, Iran may be forced to respond by attacking Israeli interests rather than going after US troops.
Some of Israel’s closest allies have condemned the deaths of seven aid worker killed by airstrikes in Gaza on Monday.
Three Britons were among the World Central Kitchen volunteers, alongside Polish and Australia nationals, a Canadian-American dual national and a Palestinian. 
Canada and other nations’ embassies will present a joint formal diplomatic rebuke to the Israeli foreign ministry over the killings, a senior Canadian government official said.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was “outraged” by the tragedy and expressed his “anger and concern” to Benjamin Netanyahu.
This comes after Rishi Sunak told the Israeli prime minister he was “appalled” by the attack and demanded a transparent investigation. 
The seven deaths were “the inevitable result of the way this war is currently being conducted” and demonstrated “a disregard for international humanitarian law”, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
Joe Biden said the deaths were tragic and Israel was not doing enough to protect civilians.

“The United States has repeatedly urged Israel to deconflict their military operations against Hamas with humanitarian operations,” he said.
Israel’s military chief, Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, said the strike was “a mistake that followed a misidentification – at night during a war in very complex conditions”, while Mr Netanyahu admitted it was an “unintended strike… on innocent people”.
Welcome back to our live coverage of the conflict, after three British aid workers were killed in Gaza in an airstrike Israel called a “grave mistake”.
John Chapman, James Kirby and James Henderson were among seven volunteers from World Central Kitchen who died after a convoy they were travelling in was hit.
Israel Defence Forces said the strike did not intend to target aid workers, and an investigation into the incident will be completed in the coming days.
Before we resume our updates and analysis, here is a recap of some of the other key developments over the last 24 hours:
The World Central Kitchen (WCK) has named all seven of the volunteers who were killed on Monday after a convoy they were travelling in was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah overnight.
Three of those were Britons who all worked on the charity’s security team. 
They have been named as:
The other four, included nationals from Poland and Australia as well as a dual citizen of the US and Canada, and a Palestinian who was driving the car they were all travelling in.
They have been named by the charity as:
Erin Gore, chief executive of WCK, said: “These are the heroes of World Central Kitchen. These seven beautiful souls were killed by the IDF in a strike as they were returning from a full day’s mission.”
She said their smiles, laughter and voices will forever be embedded in memories. 
“We are reeling from our loss. The world’s loss,” she added.

Two charities have paused providing aid to Gaza following the news that seven aid workers for World Central Kitchen were killed in an IDF airstrike.
Anera and Project Hope have both issued statements saying they are stopping their services in the territory over safety fears.
Anera said “the escalating risks associated with aid delivery leave us with no choice but to halt operations until our staff regain confidence that they can do their work without undue risk”.
Project Hope stated: “We have paused all programming in Deir al Balah and Rafah for the next three days in solidarity with World Central Kitchen and to reassess the security situation as we prioritize our staff members’ safety.”
Nearly 200 aid workers have died in Gaza since the war began in October.
Two of three British aid workers who died in an airstrike in Gaza have been reportedly named as John Chapman and James Henderson.
The World Central Kitchen (WCK) volunteers are believed to be among seven aid workers killed on Monday after a convoy they were travelling in was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah overnight.
Documents seen by Sky News suggest Mr Chapman had been due to leave the Palestinian territory on 1 April.
The US has said that it was not involved in the Israeli airstrike on Iran’s embassy compound in Damascus that killed two Iranian generals and five military advisers.
The White House national security spokesman John Kirby
dismissed claims from Iran that Washington had some responsibility for the attack as “nonsense”.
“Let me make it clear. We had nothing to do with the strike in Damascus,” he told a briefing. 
“We weren’t involved in any way.”
Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said Israel provided no advance warning of the strike in the Syrian capital.
“We were not notified by the Israelis about their strike or the intended target of their strike in Damascus,” she said.
Shortly before the attack, Israel notified the US that it would be operating in Syria, but t did not identify a target, two officials said on condition of anonymity.
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