World News 3 Nisan 2024

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute

The family of British aid worker James Kirby, who was killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza, say they are “utterly heartbroken” by his death – while the relatives of John Chapman say he was “subject to an inhumane act”.

Three British workers were killed in Gaza by the airstrike – in what the IDF has called a “grave mistake”.

John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby – who were providing security for World Central Kitchen aid workers – were among seven people from the charity who died after a convoy they were travelling in was hit.

Middle East latest: Israel admits ‘mistake’

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Family of British aid worker on his death

A statement released by Mr Kirby’s family said: “As a family, we are utterly heartbroken by the loss of our beloved James.

“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.

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Three British workers, John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby were providing security for aid workers when they were killed.

“Despite the risks, his compassionate nature drove him to offer assistance to those in dire need.

“A genuine gentleman, James was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone, even in the face of senseless violence.

“We kindly request privacy during this incredibly difficult time as we mourn the loss of our dear James.”

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute
Image:
James Kirby with his nephew Bobby

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute
Image:
James Kirby with his cousin Amy Roxburgh-Barry

And Mr Chapman’s family 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”.

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute
Image:
John Chapman

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

The three British nationals were part of the charity workers’ security team.

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute
Image:
Kitchen Lalzawmi Frankcom. Pic: World Central Kitchen/Reuters

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute
Image:
Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute
Image:
Damian Sobol. Pic: Reuters

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute
Image:
Jacob Flickinger

Sunak’s call to Netanyahu

Meanwhile, the prime minister has revealed he told Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu the situation in the region was “increasingly intolerable”.

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Mr Sunak told The Sun: “I spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu last night and was very clear with him that the situation is increasingly intolerable and what we urgently need to see is a transparent investigation into what has happened, but also 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.”

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute
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Speaking from Brussels as he attended a NATO meeting, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said he had sent “condolences” to the families of the victims, and “our thoughts should be with them”.

He added: “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.”

'Heartbroken' and 'devastated' families of UK aid workers killed by Israel pay tribute
Image:
David Cameron in Brussels. Pic: AP

Government under pressure over arms sales

Following the tragedy, the Liberal Democrats have called for the UK to suspend its arms deals with Israel.

Labour has urged the government to publish the advice it has received on arms sales, with shadow foreign secretary David Lammy expressing “very serious concerns” about Israel’s adherence to international humanitarian law.

He told reporters: “It is important now that that advice is published so that we can all be clear that if there has been a breach in international humanitarian law, and I must say that I do have very serious concerns, that arms sales are suspended.”

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