What we know so far about the seven aid workers killed in Gaza by Israel

One of them had worked in Bangladesh during the 2022 floods

Reuters
Published : 3 April 2024, 05:04 PM
Updated : 3 April 2024, 05:04 PM

An Israeli airstrike on an aid convoy in Gaza on Monday killed seven workers from the charity World Central Kitchen including citizens of Australia, Britain, Poland.

Israel said it mistakenly killed the aid workers and promised a full investigation.

Here's what we know about those killed.

SAIFEDDIN ISSAM AYAD ABUTAHA, PALESTINIAN

The 25-year-old Palestinian was buried in a ceremony attended by hundreds in his hometown of Rafah on Tuesday, according to BBC News.

"He was happy to work with an organisation that provides humanitarian aid to the displaced, our hearts are broken by your death, Saif," the BBC reported his close friend Hassan saying.

"You have hurt us with your passing, and we will not forget you."

LALZAWMI "ZOMI" FRANKCOM, AUSTRALIA

Known to her friends as "Zomi", the 43-year-old Lalzawmi Frankcom joined World Central Kitchen after an earlier career at the Commonwealth Bank.

Social media posts show her in Pakistan and Bangladesh during floods in 2022 and on a motorbike convoy delivering aid into the Haitian highlands a year earlier.

"For her it was the perfect job, she got to serve hot meals to people who were having maybe the lowest point of their lives," her friend Bryan Weaver told Reuters. 

"She made you feel like you were the only person in the room.

In a statement, her family said Zomi left behind a legacy of compassion, bravery and love.

DAMIAN SOBOL, POLAND

Sobol, a relief worker, lived in the city of Przemysl, in southeastern Poland, according to the city's mayor Wojciech Bakun.

"There are no words to describe the feelings of people who knew this amazing young man right now," he wrote in a Facebook post.

Sobol, aged 35, was pictured in videos shot months before his death, itemising aid supplies bound for Gaza, including water systems, kitchen equipment and meals. 

"(It is) everything (needed) to create a kitchen and feed people where needed," he said. 

JAMES KIRBY, JOHN CHAPMAN, JAMES HENDERSON, UK

Kirby, Chapman and Henderson were all part of WCK's security team, according to the NGO. 

British media reported that all three were former soldiers in the British military, and worked as private security contractors for UK-based firm Solace Global. 

The 47-year-old Kirby was an army veteran and served tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan, according to a statement released by his family via the BBC, which said they were "utterly heartbroken" and that Kirby would be remembered as a hero.

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

"James lost his life trying to save others, he will never know what a void he has left, our family will never be the same." 

Former special forces commando Chapman, a 57-year-old married father-of-two, had only been in Gaza for a few weeks before he was killed, according to the Sun newspaper.

Chapman's family said they were "devastated" to have lost him. They said he will be missed dearly and forever be a hero. 

"He died trying to help people and was subject to an inhumane act. He was an incredible father, husband, son and brother," the family said in a statement released by Britain's Foreign Office. 

Henderson, aged 33, served for six years in the Royal Marines, an elite fighting force of the British navy, according to his LinkedIn page. 

Solace Global did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

JACOB FLICKINGER, UNITED STATES AND CANADA

The 33-year old dual citizen of the United States and Canada was part of the relief team killed on Monday.

Those responsible for his and his colleague's deaths must be held accountable, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly said in a social media post that condemned the strikes.