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The seven aid workers killed in the Israeli air strike
World Central Kitchen

Who were the seven aid workers killed by the Israeli air strike in Gaza?

Three of the seven aid workers killed in Monday’s strike were British citizens.


THE WORLD CENTRAL Kitchen (WCK) has confirmed the identities of the seven aid workers killed in an Israeli air strike on Monday night.

The victims of the Israeli strike included three British citizens, as well as a Polish, Australian, Palestinian and dual US-Canadian citizen.

“These are the heroes of World Central Kitchen,” said CEO Erin Gore.

“These seven beautiful souls were killed by the IDF in a strike as they were returning from a full day’s mission,” Gore added.

“Their smiles, laughter, and voices are forever embedded in our memories.

“And we have countless memories of them giving their best selves to the world. We are reeling from our loss. The world’s loss.”

WCK said it is pausing operations after the “targeted Israeli strike”.

Founded by Spanish-American celebrity chef Jose Andres, the charity feeds communities affected by conflict.

It was set up by Andres and his wife Patricia in 2020 following a devastating earthquake in Haiti.

The chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said that a strike on the convoy was “a grave mistake”.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” Herzi Halevi said, as he blamed the strike on a nightime “misidentification”.

“We are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier said the military had “unintentionally” killed the aid workers, calling it a “tragic case” that would be investigated “right to the end”.

However, he did not apologise. Those killed were:

Damian Sobol

IMG_4550 (1) Damian Soból World Central Kitchen World Central Kitchen

Polish citizen Damian Sobol was among those killed in the strike.

“Our brave compatriot Damian Sobol helped people in need in Gaza where there is a humanitarian crisis,” said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski in a video posted to X.

“He was killed during an attack which the Israeli army has accepted responsibility for,” Sikorski added.

In a separate post on X, Sikorski said he had personally asked the Israeli ambassador to Poland for an “urgent explanation” for the strike.

Polish President Andrzej Duda meanwhile said it was “with deep pain” that he learned about the deaths of the WCK volunteers.

James Kirby

israel-hamas-conflict PA PA

James Kirby (47) was a military veteran who is believed to be a former member of Britain’s special forces. 

He was a former Army sniper marksman and worked in the charity’s security team.

In a statement to the BBC, Kirby’s family said he will be remembered “as a hero”.

“Alongside the other six individuals who tragically lost their lives, he will be remembered as a hero,” they said.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

They added they are “incredibly proud of who James was and what he achieved”.

John Chapman

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The 57-year-old from the UK was named among the victims by World Central Kitchen. They said he was among the charity’s security team.

The Times reports that Chapman was a former Royal Marine and father-of-two from Dorset. According to The Sun, he also served in the Special Boat Service, the special forces unit of the Royal Navy.

James Henderson

israel-hamas-conflict PA PA

James “Jim” Henderson (33) was from the UK and formed part of the relief team’s security detail, the World Central Kitchen said.

According to his LinkedIn page, he was a former roofer from Cornwall who served for six years in the Royal Marines.

“A highly disciplined, courteous and proactive individual who is mobile, offers flexibility and is willing to take on any further training necessary to offer the best service possible,” the page reads.

He left the military in 2016 to pursue security jobs such as the one in Gaza. He wrote that his “true vocation lies in security” in a “civilian position”.

He was due to leave Gaza on Monday, the Times reported.

Speaking to the Sun newspaper’s Never Mind the Ballots show, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the aid workers’ deaths as “an awful, awful tragedy”.

“To think that these were brave Brits who were actually risking their lives to bring aid to people in need in Gaza. To have lost their lives in these circumstances is a tragedy,” he added.

Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom

IMG_4549 Lalzawmi Frankcom World Central Kitchen World Central Kitchen

Australian Lalzawmi Frankcom, known as Zomi, has been described by her family as a “kind, selfless and outstanding human being”.

She was the team leader and had worked for Washington-based World Central Kitchen for the last five years, which took her to the US, Thailand and her native Australia.

She was born in Melbourne and earned a degree from the Swinburne University of Technology. She worked for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for eight years.

Ms Frankcom’s social media highlighted visits to help those in need in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Romania and Haiti.

A video posted on X last week by WCK showed Zomi speaking about some of the meals she was helping to make for people in Gaza.

In a statement, her family said that she “travelled the world helping others in their time of need” and that she was killed “doing the work she loves”.

“She will leave behind a legacy of compassion, bravery and love for all those in her orbit,” her family added.

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Israeli strike was “completely unacceptable” and added that he had been in contact with the Israeli government and is expecting “full accountability”.  

“I didn’t have the honour of knowing her,” said Albanese, “but the sort of values that are shown by someone going into a very dangerous place in order to assist mankind, their fellow humans, it says everything about the character of this young woman.

“This is a tragedy, and my sincere condolences and that of the Australian government go to Zomi’s family, her friends and all who knew her.

“Aid workers and those doing humanitarian work, and indeed all innocent civilians, need to be provided with protection,” Albanese said.

Seif Issam Abu Taha

A Palestinian driver for WCK, named as Seif Issam Abu Taha, was also killed in the strike.

IMG_4551 Seif Issam Abu Taha Instagram Instagram

Speaking to the BBC, a friend said: “He (Seif) was happy to work with an organisation that provides humanitarian aid to the displaced.

“Our hearts are broken by your death, Seif. You have hurt us with your passing, and we will not forget you.

“We pray for your mercy, Seif, and may God give us patience and give patience to your family and loved ones.

Jacob Flickinger

undated-handout-photo-issued-by-world-central-kitchen-of-jacob-flickinger-one-of-the-world-central-kitchen-seven-aid-workers-who-were-killed-in-an-israeli-air-strike-in-gaza-issue-date-wednesday-ap Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Jacob Flickinger was a dual US-Canadian national. The 33-year-old was a member of the relief team, according to World Central Kitchen.

International condemnation

Israel has been widely condemned for the deaths.

In a strongly worded statement, US President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the death of the aid workers. 

“This is not a standalone incident,” he said. “This conflict has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been killed.

“This is a major reason why distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult – because Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians.

Incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen. Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians.

Biden called for a “swift” investigation that “must bring accountability, and its findings must be made public.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had voiced his “anger and concern” in a phone call with Netanyahu, while Britain summoned the Israeli ambassador and demanded “full accountability”.

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the strike and the Israeli government’s reaction to the incident were straining ties between the two countries.

Directly addressing Netanyahu and Israel’s envoy to Warsaw, Tusk posted on X: “Today, you are putting this solidarity to the test. The tragic attack against volunteers and your reaction are generating an understandable anger.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the General Assembly that 196 humanitarian workers have been killed in the war.

 With reporting from Press Association and Cormac Fitzgerald