UK government urged to investigate airstrike that killed three British aid workers

UK government urged to investigate airstrike that killed three British aid workers

Israel has said it is investigating as well (Picture: World Central Kitchen/AP/Reuters)

The nonprofit that seven Gaza aid workers killed in an Israeli airstrike volunteered for has called for the UK government to investigate.

The team of World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers, including three Britons, were driving along the coast after unloading aid when they came under fire.

WCK security officers John Chapman, 57, James ‘Jim’ Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47, all died in the blast on Monday. Images showed the vehicles, clearly marked with the charity’s saucepan logo, with gaping holes on the roofs.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and top military officers have taken some responsibility for the attack, saying they are investigating.

Israeli officials have shrugged off claims that the aid workers were deliberately targeting, dubbing it ‘nonsense’.

For WCK, this isn’t good enough. The nonprofit, which has provided 43 million meals to starving Gazans since the start of the war, has urged global governments to launch their own ‘independent investigations’ into the deadly incident.

(Top row left to right) Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, Australian national Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom, Polish national Damian Sobol, American-Canadian dual citizen Jacob Flickinger and Chapman, Henderson and Kirby (Picture: World Central Kitchen/PA Wire)

‘Israel has admitted to the killings but called it “a tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants,” and something that “happens in war,” WCK said in a statement this morning.

The killed humanitarian aid workers included three Britons, a Palestinian, an Australian, a Pole and a dual US-Canadian citizen.

Each respective government must join the WCK in demanding a ‘third-party investigation… including whether they were carried out intentionally or otherwise violated international law’.

WCK added: ‘Yesterday, to ensure the integrity of the investigation, we asked the Israeli government to immediately preserve all documents, communications, video and/or audio recordings, and any other materials potentially relevant to the April 1 strikes.

‘An independent investigation is the only way to determine the truth of what happened, ensure transparency and accountability for those responsible, and prevent future attacks on humanitarian aid workers.’

Concerns Israel may have broken international law are shared by three former Supreme Court judges who joined more than 600 lawyers and academics in writing to prime minister Rishi Sunak.

In a 17-page letter dated yesterday, the legal experts say that given the International Court of Justice’s opinion that there is a plausible risk of genocide, the UK is legally obliged to prevent this from continuing.

Britons Chapman, Henderson and Kirby (Picture: World Central Kitchen/PA Wire)

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‘While we welcome the increasingly robust calls by your government for a cessation of fighting and the unobstructed entry to Gaza of humanitarian assistance, simultaneously to continue… the sale of weapons and weapons systems to Israel… falls significantly short of your government’s obligations under international law,’ the signatories.

The government must do what it can to ‘avoid UK complicity in grave breaches of international law, including potential violations of the Genocide Convention’.

Ministers, they added must not only call for a ceasefire but sanction ‘individuals and entities who have made statements inciting genocide against Palestinians’.

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‘This was a military attack that involved multiple strikes and targeted three WCK vehicles.

‘All three vehicles were carrying civilians; they were marked as WCK vehicles; and their movements were in full compliance with Israeli authorities, who were aware of their itinerary, route, and humanitarian mission.’

The airstrike took place along the Gazan coast (Picture: Datawrapper)

Passports of the volunteers working at the US-based international volunteer aid organization (Picture: Getty)

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José Andrés, the founder of WCK and a celebrity chef, told Reuters that the Israeli airstrike was no mistake.

He stressed it was driving from a warehouse in Deir al Balah, having unloaded some 100 parcels of aid, through a deconflicted zone and had coordinated their movements with the IDF.

‘This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,’ he said.

‘This was over 1.5km, 1.8km, with a very defined humanitarian convoy that had signs in the top, in the roof, a very colourful logo that we are obviously very proud of.

‘It’s very clear who we are and what we do.’

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