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aid workers killed in gaza were heroes says charity as victims named
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Aid workers killed in Gaza were ‘heroes’, says charity as victims named

They died alongside American-Canadian dual citizen Jacob Flickinger, 33, Australian national Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, 43, who was the leader of the relief team, Polish national Damian Sobol, 35, and Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25. The charity’s chief executive Erin Gore said: “These are the heroes of World Central Kitchen. “These seven beautiful souls were killed by the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) in a strike as they were returning from a full day’s mission. “Their smiles, laughter, and voices are forever embedded in our memories. And we have countless memories of them giving their best selves to the world. We are reeling from our loss. The world’s loss.” The World Central Kitchen (WCK) convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tonnes of humanitarian food aid taken to Gaza on the maritime route, the charity said. WCK immediately suspended operations in the region. During a phone call with Israel’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak said he was appalled by the killings and demanded a thorough and transparent independent investigation. Announcing the results of a preliminary investigation early Wednesday, Lt Gen Herzi Halevi said: “It was a mistake that followed a misidentification – at night during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened.” He added that an independent body would conduct a “thorough investigation” which is to be completed in the coming days. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had confirmed Israeli forces were behind the “unintended strike” earlier on Tuesday. Earlier on Tuesday, during a visit to the north east of England, Mr Sunak told broadcasters Israel was being asked to to investigate the incident urgently. He said his thoughts were with the friends and family of those killed and Israel should ensure aid workers could carry out their work “unhindered”. “They are doing fantastic work bringing alleviation to the suffering that many are experiencing in Gaza,” he said. “They should be praised and commended for what they are doing. “They need to be allowed to do that work unhindered and it is incumbent on Israel to make sure they can do that.” Keir Starmer has called for international law to be upheld as he described the deaths as “outrageous and unacceptable”. The Labour leader said the deaths were “horrifying” and his thoughts were with the families of those killed. “We condemn this strike. There must be a full investigation and those responsible must be held to account. “Humanitarian workers put their lives in danger to serve others. Their deaths are outrageous and unacceptable and it is not the first time aid workers have come under fire in Israel’s campaign. “International law must be upheld and humanitarian workers must be protected so that they can deliver the aid that is so desperately needed. “This war must stop now. Far too many innocent people have died in this conflict and more than a million are facing starvation. “Labour repeats our call for an immediate ceasefire, the immediate release of all hostages and full humanitarian access into Gaza.” Mr Netanyahu said in a statement: “Unfortunately, over the last day, there was a tragic incident of an unintended strike of our forces on innocent people in the Gaza Strip.” He said officials “will do everything for this not to happen again”. US President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the deaths and said he had spoken to WCK founder Jose Andres. “Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians,” he said. “Incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen. Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians.” He said an Israeli investigation “must be swift, it must bring accountability and its findings must be made public”.

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