Three British support employees amongst seven killed in Israeli strike in Gaza, World Central Kitchen confirms | EUROtoday

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An Australian humanitarian support employee is the primary of seven killed in an obvious Israeli airstrike in Gaza to have been named, with three British residents among the many lifeless.

Zomi Frankcom, 43, was killed whereas working with the World Central Kitchen charity on Gaza’s coastal street in Deir Balah, central Gaza, on Monday evening.

Zomi Frankcom (left) has been named as one of many support employees killed in an obvious Israeli air strike

(by way of REUTERS)

The our bodies had been taken to al-Aqsa hospital, a few of them carrying protecting gear with the emblem of World Central Kitchen charity, The Independent understands.

World Central Kitchen, which was based by celeb chef José Andrés, mentioned that among the many lifeless had been three British nationals, in addition to Palestinian, Polish, and US-Canadian residents. Gaza’s authorities media workplace recognized one of many lifeless as a Palestinian driver from Gaza.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has mentioned he’s “shocked and saddened” by the dying of a British support employee in Gaza, saying “clearly there are questions that need to be answered”. Foreign secretary David Cameron has referred to as on Israel to “immediately investigate”, including that the federal government needed “a full, transparent explanation of what happened”.

WCK mentioned its convoy of three autos was hit regardless of the charity coordinating on its actions with the Israeli army, and the truth that two of the vehicles hit had been clearly marked as support autos. Photographs and movies from the scene present a four-wheel drive automotive clearly labelled “World Central Kitchen” with an enormous gap within the roof and its inside destroyed.

A person stands by a destroyed automotive of the NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK) because it sits alongside Al Rashid street in Gaza on Tuesday


“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,” mentioned Erin Gore, chief government of World Central Kitchen. “This is unforgivable.”

Nate Mook, the previous chief government of WCK who first employed Ms Frankcom, described her as a “shining star” and “gift to the world” who had devoted her life to serving to individuals. “The news of her death, the killing of seven members of the World Central Kitchen is devastating for their families, friends and the world,” he instructed The Independent.

“It is unfathomable that they are not with us any more. They were all truly dedicated to their work, trying to do what they could in the most desperate and dangerous of situations.”

Ms Frankcom’s grieving household instructed The Guardian: “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. She will leave behind a legacy of compassion, bravery and love for all those in her orbit.”

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese confirmed Ms Frankcom, who hails from Melbourne, was amongst these killed and mentioned his authorities has requested a proof from Israel. Poland and Spain additionally mentioned on Tuesday that they had been urgent Israeli counterparts for extra info on how the strike took place – Andrés, the WCK founder, is a Spanish-American citizen.

A person shows British, Polish, and Australian passports at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza

(AFP by way of Getty Images)

A Palestinian support employee in Deir Balah who knew the group of support employees instructed The Independent they had been getting back from coordinating the distribution of 400 tonnes of meals support that arrived earlier that day by way of a brand new sea route from Cyprus to a pier that WCK had just lately constructed. The support employee requested to not be named for safety causes.

Security sources instructed left-leaning Israeli paper Haaretz,  that Israeli army hit the convoy thrice with a drone, as the help employees tried to dive for canopy between the autos. The safety supply mentioned after the primary missile hit, the passengers tried to maneuver to a different car – and had been attacked a second and a 3rd time.

The Israeli army declined to touch upon the allegations. Civilians in Deir al-Balah instructed The Independent there was a wave of airstrikes within the space on Monday night hitting the coastal street, a important entry level to North Gaza, and a mosque.

WCK’s founder Jose Andres mentioned deaths had been a “tragedy”.

“I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family,” Andrés wrote in a press release on X on Monday. “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 Independent interviewed Ms Frankcom simply three weeks earlier than she was killed, from a Jordanian army base the place she was coordinating the supply of humanitarian support by way of airdrops.

“There are few ways [to aid into Gaza] so let us take all of them, let’s take every opportunity we can to get meals into Gaza,” she mentioned, including that that they had served greater than 30 million meals.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu lamented the killings, saying it was “unintended”.

“This happens in wartime. We are thoroughly looking into it, are in contact with the governments (of the foreigners among the dead) and will do everything to ensure it does not happen again,” he mentioned in a video message.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the Israeli army’s prime spokesperson, mentioned officers had been reviewing the incident on the highest stage. He mentioned an unbiased investigation could be launched that “will help us reduce the risk of such an event from occurring again”.

One of the destroyed autos from the World Central Kitchen convoy


This isn’t the primary time Israel has been accused of bombing humanitarian support convoys and distribution centres. The United Nations’ Palestinian Refugee Agency instructed The Independent a tank shell hit certainly one of its support convoys in February alongside the identical coastal street additionally in Deir al-Balah the place WCK was attacked.

The UN company mentioned {that a} provide distribution centre was additionally hit in March, and convoys had come below Israeli hearth in December.

Alicia Kearns, a Conservative MP and the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, mentioned that there was nonetheless no rationalization for the January bombing of the Medical Aid for Palestine advanced in a declared protected zone which had additionally been deconflicted instantly with the Israeli army.

Four British medical doctors who had been there on the time solely simply survived. She referred to as for a “thorough and swift investigation” into what occurred on Monday.

“And also [into] what impact it will have on the ability of the maritime corridor to function given it is World Central Kitchen who were receiving and distributing the desperately needed aid,” she wrote on X, previously often called Twitter. “Humanitarian agencies must be given the assurances they need that their people will be protected.”

Francesca Albanese, a United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, referred to as for sanctions on Israel.

“On the day Israel bombed a foreign embassy in a third country, it also killed WCK humanitarian workers. Israel is crossing every possible red line, still with full impunity. Sanctions now. Indictments now.”

The alleged strike got here hours after Israeli troops ended a devastating two-week raid on Gaza’s largest hospital – al Shifa – leaving the power a torched, gutted shell, and a swath of destruction within the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Footage confirmed Shifa’s important buildings had been diminished to a charred mess, with what regarded like flattened our bodies and physique components smashed within the floor, which had been chewed up by bulldozers.

Israel claimed it launched the raid on Shifa as a result of senior Hamas operatives had regrouped there and had been planning assaults. After the troops withdrew, tons of of Palestinians returned to seek for misplaced family members or look at the harm – with Palestinian journalists reporting individuals had been killed by Israeli troopers.

Among the lifeless had been Ahmed Maqadma and his mom — each medical doctors at Shifa — and his cousin, mentioned Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta, a Palestinian-British physician who volunteered at Shifa and different hospitals in the course of the first months of the struggle earlier than returning to Britain.

The destiny of the three had been unknown since they talked by telephone with household as they tried to go away Shifa almost every week in the past and the road immediately went lifeless. On Monday, family discovered their our bodies with gunshot wounds a couple of block from the hospital, mentioned Abu Sitta, who’s in contact with the household.