Cameron demands explanation as British volunteers killed in Israeli airstrike

The IDF said it would carry out a ‘thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident’


People gather around the carcass of a car used by US-based aid group World Central Kitchen, that was hit by an Israeli strike in Deir al-Balah (Photo: Getty Images)

Three British volunteers were among seven aid workers killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza overnight on Monday.

Israel admitted responsibility for the strike on the convoy of volunteers employed by the World Central Kitchen, a charity that provides food for displaced Palestinians.

According to the charity, three British nationals were among the dead, which also included an Australian, a Pole and a dual American-Canadian citizen.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron urged the Israeli government to investigate and provide “a full transparent explanation”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the incident as tragic and 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 said in a video statement.

Chief executive of the charity Erin Gore said the team was "Travelling in a deconflicted zone in two armoured cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle."

Ms Gore added: "This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organisations showing up in the direst of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable."

The Australian government named its dead national as Lalzami Frankcom. 

The Polish man killed was named locally as Damian Sobol, and the Polish government has asked for an official explanation from the IDF.

According to WCK, it has been coordinating movements with the Israel Defence Forces, but the car was hit leaving the Deir al Balah warehouse.

The charity said: "This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should never be a target. Ever.

In a statement, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said: “Last night, an incident took place in Gaza that resulted in the tragic death of World Central Kitchen employees as they fulfilled their vital mission of bringing food to people in need.

“As a professional military committed to international law, we are committed to examining our operations thoroughly and transparently.

“I just spoke to WCK founder Jose Anders and expressed the deepest condolences of the Israel Defence Forces to the families and the entire World Central Kitchen family.

“We also express sincere sorrow to our allied nations who have been doing and continue to do so much to assist those in need.

“We have been reviewing the incident at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of what happened and how it happened.

“The incident will be investigated in the Fact Finding and Assessment Mechanism, an independent, professional, and expert body.

“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 October 7. They were one of the first NGOs here.

“The work of WCK is critical. They are on the frontlines of humanity.

“We will get to the bottom of this and we will share our findings transparently."

The charity workers were helping to deliver aid that had arrived hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Gaza and are urgently seeking further information."

WCK founder Jose Andres described the volunteers as “angels”.

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.”

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