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Confirmed: WCK British aid workers died from blast injuries

Confirmed: WCK British aid workers died from blast injuries in Israeli Gaza airstrike
3 min read
24 April, 2024
An inquest has heard the three British aid workers who were killed in a targeted Israeli airstrike in Gaza died from injuries from the strike.
The targeted airstrike killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen in April [Getty]

Three British aid workers killed in a targeted Israeli airstrike in Gaza earlier this month died from blast injuries, an inquest has heard.

Initial post-mortem results found all three men, James Kirby, 47, James Henderson, 33 and John Chapman, 57, reportedly former UK service members, died from injuries to their head, chest and limbs.

The aid workers were part of a convoy moving over 100 tons of food aid from a warehouse to distribute to Palestinians suffering amidst growing threats of famine and malnutrition caused by Israel's military campaign in the enclave.

They were confirmed to be working alongside other international staff for the charity World Central Kitchen (WCK), which provides food relief to war-torn areas.

The charity was forced to pause its operations in the Gaza Strip after multiple Israeli missiles struck the aid convoy in Deir al-Balah, south of Gaza City, despite coordinating its movements with the Israeli military and the car they were travelling in being clearly marked with the WCK logo.

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Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, Australian Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, 43, Polish Damian Soból, 35, and Jacob Flickinger, 33, a US-Canadian dual citizen, were also killed.

The inquest into their deaths was opened on Wednesday at the Avon Coroner's Court, near Bristol in England and has been adjourned until later in the year.

The strikes sparked international condemnation, led by the US and UK.

Many called on the UK government to halt arms exports to Israel as anger erupted at the killing of the British aid workers, particularly after experts and campaigners questioned if the Hermes 450 drone used in the attack was supplied by the UK. 

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the strikes were "unintentional", with the army's preliminary internal investigation findings stating the strikes were carried out in breach of army rules.

Aid groups have said there is nothing more they can do to protect their staff in the Gaza Strip, and it is up to Israel to avoid killing its workers.

The United Nations found that over 200 humanitarian aid workers have been killed in Gaza since 7 October, three times the rate of any single conflict recorded in a single year.

Over 34,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza alone since the start of the war. An additional 77,000 have been wounded in the same time frame.