Three Britons killed in Gaza named, as IDF says ‘misidentification’ led to deadly airstrike

UK

Two of three British aid workers who died in an airstrike in Gaza have been reportedly named as John Chapman and James Henderson.

The World Central Kitchen (WCK) volunteers are believed to be among seven aid workers killed on Monday after a convoy they were travelling in was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah overnight.

Documents seen by Sky News suggest Mr Chapman, 57, had been due to leave the Palestinian territory on 1 April.

Research from Sky News’ data and forensics team suggests Mr Chapman was registered to enter the Palestinian territory on 22 March, with information from the Gaza General Crossings Authority showing he was put down as a security consultant.

Nationals from Poland and Australia were among those killed, as well as a dual citizen of the US and Canada – and a Palestinian who was driving the car they were all travelling in.

Middle East latest: Israel offers condolences after ‘tragic deaths’

The volunteers were working with WCK, which provides food for displaced Palestinians.

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It is believed the workers were helping to deliver aid that had arrived hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus at the time.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that Israeli forces were responsible for the airstrike, saying there was a “tragic incident of an unintended strike of our forces on innocent people in the Gaza Strip”.

He added: “It happens in war, we check it to the end, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again.”

His comments came after Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said he had spoken to Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, to “underline that the deaths of WCK aid workers in Gaza, including three British nationals, are completely unacceptable”.

The aftermath of the airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza. Pic: Reuters
Image:
The aftermath of the airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza. Pic: Reuters

The IDF said it was carrying out a “thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”.

In a statement, a spokesperson added: “The IDF makes extensive efforts to enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid.”

WCK’s chief executive Erin Gore said the team of aid workers was “travelling in a deconflicted zone in two armoured cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle” when it was hit.

Ms Gore added: “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 – World Central Kitchen 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.”

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Australian World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid worker Lalzawmi 'Zomi' Frankcom. Pic: World Central Kitchen via Reuters
Image:
Aid worker Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom is among those killed. Pic: World Central Kitchen via Reuters

Meanwhile, Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese offered his condolences to the family and friends of the Australian aid worker who died in the incident, who he named as Zomi Frankcom.

Mr Albanese said he has contacted the Israeli ambassador to ask for accountability over Ms Frankcom’s death.

Polish national Damian Sobol and 27-year-old Palestinian Saif Issam Abu Taha also died in the targeted Israel strike.

Founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres in 2010, the WCK said last month it had served more than 42 million meals in Gaza over 175 days.

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