British aid workers who died after airstrike in Gaza named

April 02, 2024

The British aid workers who died in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza have been named as John Chapman, James Kirby and James Henderson.

Seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed on Monday after a convoy they were travelling in was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in Deir al Balah overnight.

The WCK named all seven aid workers who were killed by the Israeli strike, this evening.

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.

The three British nationals were part of the WCK's security team.

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.

Middle East latest: Israel offers condolences after 'tragic deaths'

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 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.

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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."

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Alongside the three British nationals, four others were killed by the targeted Israeli strike

Lalzawmi 'Zomi' Frankcom

Melbourne-born Ms Frankcom was remembered as a brave and selfless woman who had spent the last five years working for the WCK.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told Australian Broadcasting Corp: "We mourn this fine Australian who has a record of helping out her fellow citizens.

"She is someone who clearly was concerned about her fellow humanity."

Relatives described the 43 year old as an "outstanding human being" who was "killed doing the work she loves delivering food to the people of Gaza".

Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha

The 27-year-old Palestinian was identified by relatives and hospital workers.

According to his brother Ahmed Abutaha, he had worked for the WCK as a driver since the start of the year.

Another brother told the New York Times Mr Abutaha had been so excited to distribute the desperately needed food it was "like they were going to a wedding".

Damian Sobol

Hailing from the Polish city of Przemysl, the 36 year old had spent the past six months in Gaza after working across the globe on aid missions.

Posting on Facebook, Przemyśl mayor Wojciech Bakun said there are "no words to describe how people who knew this fantastic young man feel now".

Marta Wilczynska, of the Free Place Foundation, met and worked with Mr Sobol after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He said: "He was a really extraordinary guy. We were very proud of him."

Jacob Flickinger

The 33-year-old dual US and Canadian citizen was part of the relief team working to bring aid to Gazans in need.

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