Israeli airstrikes on Gaza aid worker convoy sparks condemnation from UK’s Sunak and President Biden: Updates

Krishnan Guru-Murthy clashes with Israeli spokesman over aid workers killed in Gaza

International leaders are demanding answers from Israel after seven aid workers were killed in an airstrike in Gaza.

Rishi Sunak and US president Joe Biden are among the figures calling for a thorough investigation from Israel after members of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) team, including three Brits, were killed returning from coordinating an aid shipment.

WCK is a charity that has been supplying food to starving Palestinians who are on the brink of famine amid Israel’s total war on the besieged strip.

The killings have prompted international condemnation.

On Tuesday evening, Mr Sunak telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to say that “far too many aid workers and ordinary civilians have lost their lives in Gaza” and that the situation there is “increasingly intolerable”.

Mr Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” at the news as he said Israel had not done enough to protect aid workers.


Sunak: ‘The situation in Gaza is increasingly intolerable’

Rishi Sunak told Benjamin Netanyahu the situation in Gaza is “increasingly intolerable” after Israeli forces killed three British aid workers.

The prime minister pressured the Israeli PM to ensure an “urgent” and “transparent” investigation takes place.

And Mr Sunak called for a “dramatic increase in the amount of aid getting into Gaza removing the barriers but also closer work with aid agencies to make sure things like this don’t happen again”.

The PM dodged a question about whether he backed calls to suspend arms sales to Israel. He told The Sun: “We’ve always had a very careful export licensing regime that we adhere to.

“There are a set of rules, regulations and procedures that will always follow, and I have been consistently clear with Prime Minister Netanyahu since the start of this conflict that while of course we defend Israel’s right to defend itself and its people against attacks from Hamas, they have to do that in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 12:12


How many aid workers have been killed in Gaza?

The death toll of aid workers in Gaza has risen to at least 196 after an Israeli airstrike killed seven members of charity World Central Kitchen on Monday.

It is not the first time Israel has been accused of bombing humanitarian aid convoys and distribution centres and of killing humanitarian aid workers.

Jamie McGoldrick, the UN’s aid coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said this was “not an isolated incident” and that Gaza was one of the most dangerous places on earth for humanitarian workers.

“As of 20 March, at least 196 humanitarians had been killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since October 2023. This is nearly three times the death toll recorded in any single conflict in a year,” he said in a statement.

“Since October 2023, the OPT has become one of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places to work.”

World Central Kitchen staff load Open Arms boat with aid for Gaza

(World Central Kitchen)

Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 12:06


Save the Children will ‘continue working around the clock’ in Gaza amid fears aid worker killings could halt charity operations

Aid workers with Save the Children will “continue working around the clock” in Gaza amid fears that the killing of World Central Kitchen workers could halt much-needed aid to the region.

Liz Bradshaw, senior conflict and humanitarian adviser at the charity, said the deaths of the World Central Kitchen aid workers were an “unspeakable tragedy” and part of a “horrendous trend” of attacks on aid workers.

“Our staff in Gaza are facing the same situation that all civilians are facing,” she said.

“Their safety and well-being are paramount considerations in all our operations and we are continuously assessing and mitigating risks to ensure that our team can carry out their work safely.

“While we are doing all we can to support them – including providing shelter, aid and basic supplies – what we really need to ensure their safety is a definitive ceasefire, now.

“Our team in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Gaza, continue working around the clock to find ways to deliver aid to children.

“Save the Children takes all possible measures to keep our staff safe while reaching children and families insofar as the access, including safety, restrictions allow. With attacks like these, that is getting harder.”

It comes as ships still laden with some 240 tons of aid turned back from Gaza just a day after arriving, according to Cyprus.

Israel has allowed only a trickle of food and supplies into Gaza’s devastated north, where experts say famine is imminent.

Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 11:51


Biden ‘outraged’ by Israeli airstrike that killed aid workers in Gaza

US president Joe Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the Israeli airstrike in Gaza that killed seven aid workers and he called on Israel to do more to protect aid workers

In some of his strongest criticism of Israel to date, he said their investigation of the incident “must be swift, it must bring accountability, and its findings must be made public”.

“Even more tragically, this is not a stand-alone incident,” he said. “This conflict has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been killed.”

He added that Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers or civilians in Gaza.

“The United States has repeatedly urged Israel to deconflict their military operations against Hamas with humanitarian operations, in order to avoid civilian casualties,” he said.


Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 11:46


Who were the aid workers killed in an Israeli airtstrike?

The killing of seven aid workers in Gaza as a result of an Israeli airstrike has sparked international condemnation.

Seven people working with World Central Kitchen (WCK) returning from coordinating an aid shipment from Cyprus to starving Palestinians were struck by the IDF in their three-car convoy.

Among the killed were three British citizens named as John Chapman, 57, James Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47.

The youngest victim was a 25-year-old Palestinian driver named Saifeddin Issam Ayab Abutaha.

Lalzawmi Frankcom, 43, of Australia, Damian Soból, 35, of Poland and Jacob Flickinger, 33, a US-Canadian dual citizen were also killed.

(World Central Kitchen/PA)

Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 11:31


‘Britain will be watching’: Cameron urges Israel to allow more aid into Gaza

Lord Cameron welcomed a pledge from Israel to fully investigate the strike on an aid convoy, and urged the nation to ensure more aid is able to get into Gaza.

The Foreign Secretary told broadcasters: “I welcome what the Israeli foreign minister said yesterday to me about a full, urgent and transparent inquiry into how this dreadful event was allowed to happen, and

we want to see that happen very quickly.

“I also welcome the fact he spoke about much more aid getting into Gaza, up to 500 trucks a day.

“That is essential, we have been promised these things before and it really needs to happen, including longer opening times at the vital crossing points.

“But, of course, the extra aid won’t work unless there is proper deconfliction, unless aid can be taken around Gaza and we avoid the dreadful incidents like we have seen in the last couple of days.

“That is vital and Britain will be watching very closely to make sure that that happens.”

(PA Wire)

Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 11:13


Cameron calls killing of aid workers ‘dreadful’

Lord David Cameron has described the killings of the aid workers as “dreadful” and said “we should mourn the loss of these brave humanitarian workers”.

As he arrived at a Nato meeting in Brussels, the Foreign Secretary told broadcasters: “The dreadful events of the last two days are a moment when we should mourn the loss of these brave humanitarian workers, including the three British citizens that tragically were killed.

“We should also send our condolences to their families and our thoughts should be with them.”

Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 11:00


Family of Brit killed in Israeli airstrike pay tribute

The family of James Kirby, one of the three British nationals killed in an Israeli air strike on aid workers in Gaza, have paid tribute to him as a “genuine gentleman”.

In a statement to the BBC, they said: “Alongside the other six individuals who tragically lost their lives, he will be remembered as a hero.

“James understood the dangers of venturing into Gaza, drawing from his experiences in the British Armed Forces, where he bravely served tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

“Despite the risks, his compassionate nature drove him to offer assistance to those in dire need.”

The statement added the family are “incredibly proud of who James was and what he achieved”.

James Kirby was working on the WCK team’s security, the charity said


Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 10:52


Former national security adviser calls for immediate ceasefire after aid worker killings

Lord Peter Ricketts, a former national security adviser, said Israel’s killing of seven aid workers has sparked “global outrage” as he called for an “immediate ceasefire”.

Lord Ricketts told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Sometimes in conflict, you get a moment where there’s such global outrage that it crystalises a sense that things can’t go on like this.

“And I think – I hope – that this awful incident will serve that purpose.”

He said a failure by Israel to respond appropriately and show aid workers they are able to deliver supplies to area of conflict should prompt “further steps to increase the pressure on Netanyahu”, including the UK no longer supplying the country with arms.

“I think there is abundant evidence now that Israel hasn’t been taking enough care to fulfil its obligations on the safety of civilians and a country that gets arms from the UK has to comply with international humanitarian law,” he added.

He said action from the UK might encourage the US to also stop supplying arms to Israel, which would be a “real game-changer”, Lord Ricketts said.

He called for “an immediate ceasefire for an extended period to open up the borders and make it safe to get aid in for those delivering it and those receiving it”, adding this could also help secure the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Lord Ricketts was security adviser to former PM David Cameron

(Wikimedia Commons)

Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 10:40


Shadow treasury minister says Israel gone ‘too far’

The UK and US are saying Israel has “gone too far” in its war against Hamas, shadow Treasury minister Darren Jones has said.

Asked if he would support the UK ending arms sales to Israel, Mr Jones told Good Morning Britain: “The fact of the matter is if the UK, for example, stopped supplying arms, the war would not end. What we need to do is get the parties to a position where the fighting can stop.

“I think what we’ve seen from President Biden, from Keir Starmer, and now from Lord Cameron, our own foreign secretary, is that countries that supported Israel’s right to defend itself and to recover its hostages from Hamas terrorists in Gaza, which clearly is their right to have done in the first place, have all said that you’ve gone too far, that we need to bring this war to an end, we need to get around the negotiating table, we need to aid to get to people who desperately need it in Gaza.

“This latest situation, not only has it resulted in the death of aid workers, which is unacceptable, but it’s now making it much harder for aid to be made available to people who are in the most desperate situations.”

Mr Jones declined to say whether Israel was violating international law.

He said: “As always, on questions of international law, it’s for judges and courts to make that decision, not for politicians.”

Athena Stavrou3 April 2024 10:38