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Israel-Hamas war: Three Britons killed in Gaza named, as IDF says ‘misidentification’ led to deadly airstrike


Three British aid workers killed in an airstrike in Gaza have been named – with Israel admitting a “grave mistake” has been made.

John Chapman, James Kirby and James Henderson were among seven volunteers from World Central Kitchen who died after a convoy they were travelling in was hit.

Israel Defence Forces said the strike did not intend to target aid workers, and a thorough investigation into the incident will be completed in the coming days.

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification – at night, during a war, in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened,” an official said.

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

The blood-stained British, Polish, and Australian passports of aid workers killed by Israel. Pic: AP
The blood-stained UK, Polish, and Australian passports of the volunteers. Pic: AP

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

All three British nationals were part of World Central Kitchen’s security team – and it is believed the volunteers were helping to deliver aid that had arrived hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus.

Nationals from Poland and Australia were also 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.

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What happened to killed aid workers?

Erin Gore, the charity’s chief executive, said: “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.”

US President Joe Biden has said he is “outraged and heartbroken” by their deaths.

“They were providing food to hungry civilians in the middle of a war. They were brave and selfless. Their deaths are a tragedy,” he added.

One of the vehicles the aid workers were travelling in. Pic: AP
One of the vehicles the aid workers were travelling in. Pic: AP

Mr Biden also criticised Israel – and said the country hasn’t done enough to protect civilians.

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

“This is a major reason why distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult – because Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians.”

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Netanyahu: ‘This happens in war’

Earlier, 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.”

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The UK’s 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”.

Melbourne-born Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom also lost her life in the attack – along with Palestinian national Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, Damian Sobol from Poland, and dual US-Canadian citizen Jacob Flickinger.


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