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Australian National Review – What We Know About The Israeli Strike That Killed Seven Aid Workers In Gaza

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It remained unclear what sort of munition struck the cars and whether those explosives were launched from the ground, from a warplane or from a drone.

Six foreign citizens and a Palestinian were killed

World Central Kitchen said one of those killed was a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, while the others were from Australia, Britain, Gaza and Poland. It did not give their names.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese identified one of the victims as Zomi Frankcom, an Australian citizen and a senior manager at World Central Kitchen. “The tributes flowing for Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom tell the story of a life dedicated to the service of others, including her fellow Australians during natural disasters,” Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on social media.

Zomi Frankcom of Australia, right, one of the seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen killed by an Israeli air strike,

Zomi Frankcom of Australia, right, one of the seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen killed by an Israeli air strike,Credit: AP

Damian Sobol, an aid worker from the southeastern Polish city of Przemysl, died in the attack, according to the city’s mayor, Wojciech Bakun. “There are no words to describe what people who knew this fantastic guy feel at this moment,” he said in a post on social media.

David Cameron, the British foreign secretary, said on X, formerly Twitter, that three of the aid workers who were killed were British citizens but did not include their names. He added that he had spoken to his Israeli counterpart to raise concerns.

Palestinian medics retrieved the bodies of the seven victims and took them to a hospital in Deir al-Balah, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. The bodies of the foreigners were to be taken out of Gaza into Egypt, the group said.

Driver Saif Abu Taha and Polish national Damian Sobol.

Driver Saif Abu Taha and Polish national Damian Sobol. Credit: Instagram

Damian Sobol Saif Abu Taha, a 26-year-old Palestinian working as a driver and translator for World Central Kitchen, also died in the attack. Abu Taha was an enterprising young man who worked in his father’s business and spoke good English, his brother Shadi said.

Abu Taha and other World Central Kitchen workers were thrilled to have the opportunity to unload the desperately needed food aid. “They were so excited, like they were going to a wedding,” his brother said. It was the last time he saw him.

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Cameron said on social media that “it is essential that humanitarian workers are protected and able to carry out their work.” He called on Israel “to immediately investigate and provide a full, transparent explanation of what happened.”

At least 196 aid workers were killed in Gaza and the West Bank between October 2023 and late March, according to Jamie McGoldrick, a senior UN relief official. “This is not an isolated incident,” he said, later adding: “There is no safe place left in Gaza.”

The prime minister appeared to take responsibility for the ‘unintentional’ attack.

In a video statement, Netanyahu referred to a “tragic case of our forces unintentionally harming innocent people in the Gaza Strip.” Netanyahu did not name World Central Kitchen in his remarks.

But an Israeli official familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the strike was still under investigation, clarified that the prime minister was referring to the strike.

“It happens in war, we are fully examining this, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again,” Netanyahu said.

People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah.

People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah.Credit: AP

An Israeli military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal investigation, said the military had concluded it was responsible for the strike on the convoy. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israeli military chief of staff, is expected to review findings of an initial inquiry into the incident Tuesday evening, the official said.

A spokesperson for Israel’s military, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said the investigation had been referred to the Fact Finding and Assessment Mechanism, a military body tasked with investigating accusations and looking into the circumstances behind battlefield episodes. “We will be opening a probe to examine this serious incident further,” he said. “This will help us reduce the risk of such an event from occurring again.”

The Israeli military said the mechanism was an “independent, professional and expert body.” Human rights groups have generally been critical of the Israeli military’s ability to transparently investigate itself, charging that inquiries are often long and rarely lead to indictments.

The World Central Kitchen aid ship is headed back to Cyprus.

At the time of the strike, workers had unloaded 100 tons of aid from the Jennifer, a World Central Kitchen vessel that had left the Cypriot port of Larnaca last weekend and arrived in Gaza on Monday. An additional 240 tons were to be unloaded Tuesday, according to Theodoros Gotsis, a spokesperson for the Cypriot Foreign Ministry.

Gotsis said that the Jennifer instead left Gaza to sail back to Larnaca on Tuesday. He added that several more tons of aid were waiting at warehouses in Larnaca, but that it was not clear when and whether a mission to deliver them would take place.

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