Three British aid workers killed in Gaza, charity says

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Rishi Sunak, pictured in MarchImage source, PA Media

Three British aid workers have been killed in Gaza by an Israeli air strike, their charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) told BBC News.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called on Israel to "urgently" investigate the deaths of seven aid workers, who the Britons were amongst.

Other victims were Australian, Polish, Palestinian and US-Canadian citizen, the charity said.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was "unintentional".

An aid convoy was hit while leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where it had unloaded "more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid," according to the charity.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said news of the air strike was "deeply distressing".

He called upon Israel to immediately investigate and provide a "full, transparent explanation" of what happened.

Mr Sunak said the government was "urgently working to confirm all the details" of the attack.

He said aid charities were doing "fantastic work" in Gaza and they should be "praised and commended".

The prime minister added they "need to be allowed to do that work unhindered" and said it was "incumbent on Israel" to make sure they could do that.

Asked about whether the government had received legal advice that Israel had breached international humanitarian law in Gaza, Mr Sunak said it was the UK's "longstanding" position that "Israel has both the intention and the ability to comply with international humanitarian law".

He added that he had made that "very clear" to Mr Netanyahu.

Image source, EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Image caption,

World Central Kitchen says those killed were part of a convoy that was travelling from a warehouse in central Gaza

The prime minister said there had been "too many civilian deaths in Gaza", and he reiterated his call for an "immediate humanitarian pause so that we can get the hostages out and more aid into the region".  

Mr Netanyahu released a video message on Tuesday in which he said Israeli forces were behind the attack.

"Unfortunately, in the last 24 hours there was a tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip," he said.

"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."

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it was conducting a "thorough review" into what it called a "tragic incident".

But WCK chief executive Erin Gore called the strike a "targeted attack by the IDF".

Paying tribute to the victims, Ms Gore said she was "heartbroken and appalled" at the "beautiful lives" lost in the attack.

"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," she added.

Much of the Gaza Strip has been devastated during the Israeli military operations that began after Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israel on 7 October, killing about 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages.

About 130 of the hostages remain in captivity, at least 34 of whom are presumed dead.

More than 32,916 people have been killed in Gaza since then, the Hamas-run health ministry says.

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