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Family of UK aid worker killed by Israel ‘heartbroken’ – as PM warns of ‘increasingly intolerable’ situation

The family of British aid worker James Kirby, who was killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza, say they are “utterly heartbroken” by his death – as Rishi Sunak warned of an “increasingly intolerable” situation in the Middle East.

Three British aid workers were killed in Gaza by the airstrike – in what the IDF has called a “grave mistake”.

John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby were among seven volunteers from World Central Kitchen who died after a convoy they were travelling in was hit.

Middle East latest: Israel admits ‘mistake’

John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby all died in the Israeli strike
Image: John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby all died in the Israeli strike

A statement released by Mr Kirby’s family said: “As a family, we are utterly heartbroken by the loss of our beloved James.

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

“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.

“We kindly request privacy during this incredibly difficult time as we mourn the loss of our dear James.”

Speaking to The Sun about his conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Sunak said: “I spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu last night and was very clear with him that the situation is increasingly intolerable and what we urgently need to see is a transparent investigation into what has happened, but also a dramatic increase in the amount of aid getting into Gaza – removing the barriers – but also closer work with aid agencies to make sure things like this don’t happen again.”

Speaking from Brussels as he attended a NATO meeting, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said he had sent “condolences” to the families of the victims, and “our thoughts should be with them”.

He added: “I welcome what the Israeli foreign minister said yesterday to me about a full, urgent and transparent inquiry into how this dreadful event was allowed to happen, and we want to see that happen very quickly.”

David Cameron in Brussels. Pic: AP
Image: David Cameron in Brussels. Pic: AP

Australian Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom also died in the attack – along with Palestinian national Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, Damian Sobol from Poland, and dual US-Canadian citizen Jacob Flickinger.

The three British nationals were part of the charity workers’ security team.

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Following the tragedy, the Liberal Democrats have called for the UK to suspend its arms deals with Israel.

The party’s leader, Sir Ed Davey, said: “Clearly, the thought that British-made arms could have been used in strikes such as these is completely unacceptable.

“The government must take swift action to suspend arms exports to Israel. We must redouble our efforts to secure an immediate bilateral ceasefire.”

Sir Ed Davey
Image: Sir Ed Davey

Darren Jones, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News this morning: “Aid workers must be protected. They should not be killed in these ways.

“And that’s why in the very first instance, questions need to be answered about how this could have happened in the first place. That’s the least the families should be given.”

Sky News Source