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Israel-Gaza latest: Biden says he’s ‘outraged and heartbroken’ as aid workers killed in strike are identified

The seven aid workers who were killed in an airstrike in Gaza on Tuesday have been identified.

President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and hearbroken” after members of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) team — including US-Canadian dual citizen Jacob Flickinger —were killed by an IDF airstrike while were returning from coordinating an aid shipment.

The charity 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.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly tweeted she was “horrified to hear reports of the IDF strike” and called for “full accountability for these killings.”

White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby said that the aid workers were in a marked aid convoy when the strike hit, adding that that it’s “clear” that the IDF “must do much more to improve deconfliction processes so that civilians and humanitarian aid workers are protected.”

Israel has pledged to conduct an independent investigation.

Flickinger was killed alongside Saifeddin Issam Ayab Abutaha of Palestine, Lalzawmi Frankcom of Australia, Damian Soból of Poland and UK citizens John Chapman, James Henderson, and James Kirby.

Key Points

UK should mourn deaths of British aid workers killed in Gaza, says Cameron

16:30 , Holly Evans

UK should mourn deaths of British aid workers killed in Gaza, says Cameron

Family of Briton James Kirby killed in Gaza speak out

16:05 , Holly Evans

Labour: Government must suspend arms sales to Israel if it has breached international law

15:33 , Holly Evans

David Lammy has piled pressure on Lord Cameron to publish government advice on whether Israel is breaking international law, saying Britain must suspend arms sales to the country if so.

The shadow foreign secretary accused Lord Cameron of “going silent” after ignoring an initial request to publish the legal advice on 22 March.

And Mr Lammy called for Israel to face “serious consequences” over the killing of three British aid workers in Gaza.

The Labour MP said: “Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of the three heroic Brits who put their lives on the line to get Palestinian civilians the aid they desperately need.

“The law is clear. British arms licences cannot be granted if there is a clear risk that the items might be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

“Labour’s message to the government is equally clear. Publish the legal advice now. If it says there is a clear risk that UK arms might be used in a serious breach of international humanitarian law, it’s time to suspend the sale of those arms. If David Cameron has received this advice, he must act on it.”

Israel has betrayed allies like Britain, says former Tory foreign minister

14:00 , Athena Stavrou

The killing of seven aid workers in Gaza is a “tipping point” for Israel’s international reputation and Britain should reconsider whether the country is an “ally”, a former Tory foreign minister has said.

Sir Alan Duncan, who served as a Conservative minister between 2010 and 2019, strongly condemned Israel’s killing of seven aid workers - three of whom were British - as “merciless”.

And he said the country has now “lost the support of the world” through its “deceit and callousness”.

My colleague Archie Mitchell reports:

Israel has betrayed allies like Britain, says former Tory foreign minister

Rachel Reeves calls government to publish any advice about exporting arms to Israel

13:39 , Athena Stavrou

The Government must urgently publish any advice it has received about exporting arms to Israel, Rachel Reeves has said.

Asked whether there was a case for the UK to halt arms exports, the shadow chancellor told reporters in London: “We have urged the Government to urgently publish any reports that they have on the abidance with international law.

“The international law is clear that where arms sales are at risk of being used for purposes not consistent with international law, they shouldn’t happen.

“That is why now we are asking the Government to urgently publish the evidence that they have.”

 (Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)
(Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire)

Family tributes for Israeli airstrike victims continue

13:05 , Athena Stavrou

Family members of James Kirby, one of the aid workers who was killed in an Israeli air strike on Monday, have said he was an “all-round gentleman” and that the seven people who died are “like heroes to us”.

Amy Roxburgh-Barry, Mr Kirby’s cousin, told Sky News: “He was just an all-round gentleman and even with children.

“He was amazing with my son, who unfortunately does not understand because he’s only young.

“It’s just devastating that he’s fought in these wars and come home with not a scratch, and then he goes out to do something helpful, and that’s what happens.”

Adam McGuire, Mr Kirby’s cousin, said: “Not only James but the six other individuals are like heroes to us. They went out there selflessly to help some of the most desperate people in the world.”

Ms Roxburgh-Barry recalled the last phone conversation with her cousin and said he had been planning a surprise cruise for his mother and aunt.

“He wanted to send my mum and my aunty on a cruise once he’d sold his house because they felt they both needed it.

“My aunty didn’t know, it was supposed to be a surprise. That was the conversation we had, and that’s what we were going to pick up on when he was back.”

 (Supplied)
(Supplied)

Family of British aid worker killed in Israeli airstrike will ‘forever be a hero’, his family say

12:49 , Athena Stavrou

The family of British aid worker John Chapman, who was killed in the Israeli air strike in Gaza, have said he will “forever be a hero”,

In a statement issued through the Foreign Office, the family of Mr Chapman, who was one of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers killed in Gaza on Monday, said: “We are devastated to have lost John, who was killed in Gaza.

“He died trying to help people and was subject to an inhumane act. He was an incredible father, husband, son and brother.

“We request we be given space and time to grieve appropriately.

“He was loved by many and will forever be a hero. He will be missed dearly”.

 (World Central Kitchen/WCK.org/PA Wire)
(World Central Kitchen/WCK.org/PA Wire)

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg challenges John Kirby on deaths of seven foreign aid workers

12:30 , Athena Stavrou

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg has challenged John Kirby following the deaths of seven foreign aid workers in Gaza.

Mr Feinberg questioned the White House national security spokesman during a press conference on Tuesday after he described the strike which killed the aid workers as a “possible mistake”.

Lucy Leeson reports:

The Independent challenges John Kirby on deaths of seven foreign aid workers

Sunak: ‘The situation in Gaza is increasingly intolerable’

12:12 , Athena Stavrou

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)
(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

How many aid workers have been killed in Gaza?

12:06 , Athena Stavrou

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

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

11:51 , Athena Stavrou

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.

Biden 'outraged' by Israeli airstrike that killed aid workers in Gaza

11:46 , Athena Stavrou

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.

 (AP)
(AP)

Who were the aid workers killed in an Israeli airtstrike?

11:31 , Athena Stavrou

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)
(World Central Kitchen/PA)

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

11:13 , Athena Stavrou

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)
(PA Wire)

Cameron calls killing of aid workers ‘dreadful'

11:00 , Athena Stavrou

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.”

Family of Brit killed in Israeli airstrike pay tribute

10:52 , Athena Stavrou

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 (via REUTERS)
James Kirby was working on the WCK team’s security, the charity said (via REUTERS)

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

10:40 , Athena Stavrou

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)
Lord Ricketts was security adviser to former PM David Cameron (Wikimedia Commons)

Shadow treasury minister says Israel gone ‘too far'

10:38 , Athena Stavrou

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.”

Downing Street’s full statement on PM’s call with Netanyahu

10:37 , Athena Stavrou

A Downing Street spokesman said on Tuesday: “The Prime Minister spoke to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening.

“He said he was appalled by the killing of aid workers, including three British nationals, in an air strike in Gaza yesterday and demanded a thorough and transparent independent investigation into what happened.

“The Prime Minister said far too many aid workers and ordinary civilians have lost their lives in Gaza and the situation is increasingly intolerable.

“The UK expects to see immediate action by Israel to end restrictions on humanitarian aid, deconflict with the UN and aid agencies, protect civilians and repair vital infrastructure like hospitals and water networks.

“The Prime Minister reiterated that Israel’s rightful aim of defeating Hamas would not be achieved by allowing a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.”

 (EPA)
(EPA)