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British national among 7 aid workers killed in Gaza air strike

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

Seven aid workers from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland, dual citizens of the U.S., Canada, and Palestine, were killed while travelling in a non-conflict zone.

WCK said this in a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday.

The Foreign, Commonwealth, & Development Office (FCDO) said that it was aware of the report.

A spokesperson said: “we are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Gaza and are urgently seeking further information.””

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan told the BBC the government was “very, very concerned.”

She said: “we haven’t had it confirmed yet, but we are very, very concerned by the situation.

“We do know that we’ve urged Israel to do more to protect civilians, but also to allow aid to get into Gaza.

“But we haven’t yet had this confirmed, and I think the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)  are reviewing this, probably as we speak.”

She added that it was “worrisome” that the charity WCK had suspended its work in Gaza.

She said, “One of the key things is trying to ensure we get more aid into Gaza, so if one of the charities working on the ground has been suspended, then that’s obviously deeply concerning.

“Our thoughts will go to everybody affected.”

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

In spite of coordinating WCK’s moves with the IDF, the charity said the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse.

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It was where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid taken 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, WCK, 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 airstrike in Gaza.

“I am heartbroken and grieving for their families and friends and our whole WCK family. These are people who are angels.

“I served alongside in Ukraine, Gaza, Turkey, Morocco, the Bahamas, and Indonesia. They are not faceless; they are not nameless. The Israeli government needed to stop this indiscriminate killing.

“It needed to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon. No more innocent lives should be 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.”

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WCK immediately suspended operations 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 said his government had requested an explanation from Israel of how the incident occurred.

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, was 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 Frankcom’s family, she died doing the work she loved.

“We are deeply mourning the news of our brave and beloved Zomi being killed doing the work she loved, delivering food to the people of Gaza,” said the statement. (dpa/NAN)

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