UK summons Israeli ambassador after three British aid workers killed in Gaza

UK summons Israeli ambassador after three British aid workers killed in Gaza

Britain's Minister of State for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell leaves 10 Downing Street after a Cabinet meeting in London, Britain, January 23, 2024. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/ File photo

The UK summoned Israel's ambassador in London Tuesday to hear its "unequivocal condemnation" of the killing of three British and four other staff of a food charity in a Gaza missile strike.

The summons, which the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said the Israeli ambassador attended, came as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called on Israel for answers about the "tragic incident".

The British leader added it must "take immediate steps to protect aid workers and facilitate vital humanitarian operations in Gaza".

Meanwhile, junior UK foreign minister Andrew Mitchell said after the summons that he had requested "a quick and transparent investigation, shared with the international community, and full accountability".

"I reiterated the need for Israel to put in place an effective deconfliction mechanism immediately and urgently to scale up humanitarian access," Mitchell added.

"We need to see an immediate humanitarian pause, to get aid in and the hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable ceasefire."

The US-based World Central Kitchen charity has said Israel's strike Monday killed seven of its staff unloading food brought by sea to the war-torn Gaza Strip to help alleviate looming famine.

The group has said it was pausing operations after the "targeted Israeli strike" killed Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian staff.

Initial reports and statements said one Briton had died, but the charity and UK government subsequently confirmed three had lost their lives.

The Israeli military has said it was "conducting a thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident".

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he had spoken Tuesday with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz to underline that the deaths were "completely unacceptable".

"Israel must urgently explain how this happened (and) make major changes to ensure safety of aid workers on the ground," he added.

Cameron, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2016 and returned to frontline politics last year as the UK's top diplomat, had earlier called news of the incident "deeply distressing".

"These were people who were working to deliver life-saving aid to those who desperately need it," he said on social media.

"It is essential that humanitarian workers are protected and able to carry out their work."

Cameron has become increasingly critical of aspects of Israel's war in Gaza since Hamas's October 7 attack, repeatedly calling for more aid to be allowed into the territory.


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