'Situation intolerable': UK's Sunak demands probe into Israeli strike on aid workers | World News - Hindustan Times
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'Situation intolerable': UK's Sunak demands probe into Israeli strike on aid workers

AFP |
Apr 03, 2024 06:12 AM IST

The UK summoned Israel's ambassador in London over the killing of three British and four other staff at the World Central Kitchen charity.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday spoke with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to demand a probe into a strike that killed charity workers in Gaza, including British citizens, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Food supplies are airdropped by the UK Armed Forces to civilians, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in the northern Gaza Strip (via REUTERS)
Food supplies are airdropped by the UK Armed Forces to civilians, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in the northern Gaza Strip (via REUTERS)

The UK also summoned Israel's ambassador in London to hear its "unequivocal condemnation" of the killing of three British and four other staff at the World Central Kitchen charity.

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Sunak told Netanyahu that "he was appalled by the killing of aid workers", a spokesperson said in a statement.

He also "demanded a thorough and transparent independent investigation into what happened".

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

Sunak told Netanyahu that the situation in Gaza was becoming "increasingly intolerable" and that the UK "expects to see immediate action by Israel to end restrictions on humanitarian aid", the Downing Street statement said.

The UK Prime Minister had earlier said called on Israel to "take immediate steps to protect aid workers".

According to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the Israeli ambassador attended the summons.

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 World Central Kitchen 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 on 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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