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Three British aid workers were killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) has said.

Nationals from Poland and Australia were also killed, as well as a dual citizen of the US and Canada – and a Palestinian who was driving the car they were all travelling in.

The volunteers were employed by WCK, a non-governmental organisation which provides food for displaced Palestinians.

What we know so far about what happened

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It is believed the workers were helping to deliver aid that had arrived hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus at the time.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that Israeli forces were responsible for the airstrike, saying there was a “tragic incident of an unintended strike of our forces on innocent people in the Gaza Strip”.

He added: “It happens in war, we check it to the end, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again.”

His comments came after Lord Cameron said he had spoken to Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, to “underline that the deaths of WCK aid workers in Gaza, including three British nationals, are completely unacceptable”.

“Israel must urgently explain how this happened and make major changes to ensure safety of aid workers on the ground,” the UK’s foreign secretary said in a post on the X social media platform.

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In an earlier post, Lord Cameron said it was “essential” that humanitarian workers were protected and able to carry out their work and urged Israel to “immediately investigate and provide a full, transparent explanation of what happened”.

The UK Foreign Office also said Israel’s ambassador to the UK had been summoned, with development minister Andrew Mitchell saying he had “set out the government’s unequivocal condemnation of the appalling killing” of the aid workers.

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PM ‘shocked’ by aid worker deaths

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “shocked and saddened” by the reports, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also commented, describing the reports as “horrifying”.

“We condemn this strike. There must be a full investigation and those responsible must be held accountable,” he said in a post on X.

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Meanwhile, WCK chief executive Erin Gore said the team of volunteers were “travelling in a deconflicted zone in two armoured cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle” when it was hit.

Despite coordinating movements with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the convoy was hit as it was leaving a warehouse in the central Gazan town of Deir al Balah, the charity said.

It added it is pausing its operations immediately in the region.

“This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER,” the charity said in a statement.

Ms Gore added: “This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organisations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable.”

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert takes questions from reporters after a news conference in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Image:
Former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, called for an immediate investigation. File pic: AP


Israel’s former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, described the incident as a “tragic event”.

“[It is] totally unacceptable and unjustified. It’s disgusting. It’s terrible. I think that, first of all, Israel should apologise formally,” he told Sky News.

“I understand that the prime minister [Netanyahu] already said something about it, but we have to investigate it immediately and take the necessary measures against those who will be found responsible for it.”

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Timeline of killing of aid workers

“We have no war with this organisation – the World Central Kitchen – they have been very helpful and supportive of providing humanitarian supplies.

“I believe this was a mistake, but these mistakes must be inquired and necessary measures against those who are responsible will need to be taken immediately.”

Geolocated footage sheds further light on deaths of aid workers

Geolocated footage and information from individuals with knowledge from the ground provides further insight into events surrounding the recent deaths of aid workers in central Gaza.

World Central Kitchen said their staff were travelling in three vehicles from the charity’s Deir al Balah warehouse.

Geolocated photographs show a burnt-out car on the side of the al Rashid coastal road to the southwest of the city. Materials marked with World Central Kitchen’s branding can be seen in the back of the vehicle.

Photographs and footage of a second vehicle, with the charity’s logo painted on its roof, place it around 810 metres southeast along the road. The roof appears to have been punctured by some kind of munition, and the interior is visibly damaged.

A third car appears to have been similarly destroyed. Geolocated footage posted to Instagram shows a white burnt-out vehicle in a field a further 1.6km southeast along the road. A high-visibility vest with World Central Kitchen branding is on the back seat.

Social media posts first mention the strikes at around 10.52pm local time. This fits with information provided to Sky News, which placed the attacks between 10.30pm and 11pm.

Footage filmed shortly after shows that bodies were taken from The al Rashid coastal road to al Aqsa Hospital in the northeast of Deir al Balah.

The IDF said it would carry out a “thorough review at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident”.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israel’s chief military spokesperson, said he had expressed “the deepest condolences of the Israel Defence Forces to the families and the entire World Central Kitchen family”.

He said the IDF will be examining the “serious incident further” to “help us reduce the risk of such an event from occurring again”.

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PM ‘appalled’ at Met Police ‘openly Jewish’ exchange – but Sadiq Khan has full confidence in commissioner

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PM 'appalled' at Met Police 'openly Jewish' exchange - but Sadiq Khan has full confidence in commissioner

Sadiq Khan has full confidence in Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley despite him facing calls to quit over the force’s handling of a recent pro-Palestine protest, Sky News understands.

It comes as a government source said Rishi Sunak was “appalled” at the incident – in which an officer was captured on video calling a man “openly Jewish”.

Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho told Sky News that the incident in London was “completely wrong” and that “what happens next” with regard to Sir Mark was a “matter for the Labour London mayor”.

A spokesperson for the London mayor said: “Everybody must feel safe going about in London wherever they please. The way the original incident was dealt with by the Met was concerning and the original response put out by them was insensitive and wrong.

“The Met have an extremely difficult job – particularly so when it comes to operational decisions taken while policing marches.

“But in the end the Met must have the confidence of the communities they serve and it is right that they have apologised for the way the incident was handled and their original public response.”

Read more:
Met Police chief stuck in middle of policing and politics – analysis

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Coutinho: Met has ‘got it wrong’

Sky News understands that Sir Mark does still retain the confidence of Mr Khan, who as mayor has the power to effectively sack the commissioner – but can only do so with the permission of the home secretary, who can also require the mayor to dismiss the head of the Met.

Mr Rowley, who replaced Cressida Dick as Met commissioner in 2022, is facing calls to quit following the officer’s interaction with Gideon Falter, the chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

In the video, an officer appears to prevent Mr Falter from crossing the road and tells him: “You are quite openly Jewish. This is a pro-Palestinian march. I am not accusing you of anything, but I am worried about the reaction to your presence.”

Mr Falter, who was wearing a yarmulke and said he was simply walking past after attending synagogue, was then threatened with arrest if he did not leave the area.

He told Sky News that Londoners cannot have confidence in the Met under Sir Mark’s leadership and accused the commissioner of “victim blaming” following the incident, for which he has received two apologies.

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New video of ‘openly Jewish’ row

Mr Falter was joined in his call for Sir Mark to go by former home secretary Suella Braverman, who said there had been “failure after failure by the Met” over the last six months.

In an interview with Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, Ms Coutinho repeatedly declined to say whether Sir Mark should quit following the incident, but said what happened was “completely wrong”.

“It’s not right that one group of people in society should be told they can’t go around their daily lives because it might be a provocation to someone else,” she said.

“That’s not how equality works in this country.

“So I do think they’ve got it wrong. I think it’s right that they’ve apologised, and ultimately, what happens next is a matter for the Labour London Mayor who has the responsibility to hold the Met to account.”

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On Sunday morning, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said it would meet Sir Mark following “a series of high-profile errors” regarding its policing of pro-Palestinian marches.

“The entirely avoidable mistakes have had a devastating effect on the previously high level of trust held by the UK’s Jewish community in the police”, a statement from the group read.

As well as the Board of Deputies, Sir Mark will meet the Jewish Leadership Council and Community Security Trust (CST) next Thursday. The Campaign Against Antisemitism has told Sky News it is not attending the meeting.

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Met resignation is ‘not the way forward’

Labour’s shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood said the Met had “not covered themselves in glory” over the incident with Mr Falter but that she did not agree with calls for Sir Mark to resign.

“I can understand the strength of feeling and as I say that footage was very concerning, and I can understand where Mr Falter is coming from,” she told Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips.

“But I don’t think that the resignation of the Met’s commissioner is the way forward.”

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Sky News footage reveals new details of exchange between police and antisemitism campaigner called ‘openly Jewish’

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Sky News footage reveals new details of exchange between police and antisemitism campaigner called 'openly Jewish'

A tense, extended stand-off between police and an antisemitism campaigner where he was called “openly Jewish” and threatened with arrest yards from a pro-Palestinian march was caught on film by Sky News.

The footage gives context to the lengthy and fraught exchanges amid an increasingly volatile atmosphere, as the head of the Metropolitan Police faces calls to resign following the incident.

Scotland Yard has already had to apologise twice after a short video clip emerged on social media, where Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, was blocked by an officer close to the protest in the Aldwych area of London on Saturday 13 April.

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Original clip: Jewish man prevented crossing Gaza march

An initial apology by Met assistant commissioner Matt Twist had to be retracted after it suggested the presence of Mr Falter, who was wearing a kippah skull cap, was “provocative”, leading to a rebuke from the Home Office.

In the Sky News footage, the activist insisted he was only trying to cross the road down which the demonstration was passing, but this is disputed by an officer in the new footage, who said Mr Falter had deliberately walked head-on into the crowd and accused him of being “disingenuous” and seeking to “antagonise” the marchers.

Sky News has decided not to identify the officer.

Extended exchange

As emotions continue to run high over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, the Sky News footage shows a Met police sergeant explaining to Mr Falter that it was a “big demonstration” and barring his way to the march.

When Mr Falter asked if it was because he is Jewish, the officer nods and says “unfortunately”.

The officer said: “Unfortunately, sir you took it upon yourself to go from the pavement right into the middle of a pro-Palestinian march, which is why I asked you to go away.”

He added: “You are looking to try and antagonise this.”

“So I can already see what your mindset is, sir.”

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Taking issue with this, Mr Falter said: “My mindset? My mindset is I am Jewish in London and I can walk where I want.”

The officer then said: “Please don’t be too disingenuous sir.”

Mr Falter said: “I am not being disingenuous, I can walk wherever the hell I want.

“If I want to walk to that pavement that is what I am going to do and you are going to have to arrest me.”

The officer said: “I would rather not do that.”

Mr Falter said: “I want to get out of here, I want to go across there.”

The officer then said: “I tell you what, come with me, let’s get you out of here. If that’s what you want, come on.

“I am going to get you out over here, you are going to have to do the long way – there are so many people.”

Mr Falter said: “Why can’t I just walk where I want to walk?”

The officer said: “Because there is a big demonstration.”

He added: “I will walk you out and then you can go. You can see all the Israeli flags over there, I will walk you over there.”

Mr Falter said: “I don’t walk with the Israeli flags or any flags.”

The officer replied: “I am not asking you to walk with them but that is the route I will take you out.”

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‘Time for Mark Rowley to go’

Asking the officer “to listen to me for a second”, Mr Falter said: “The Metropolitan Police says that these marches are completely safe for Jews, there is no problem whatsoever.

“You are telling me that I cannot walk to the other pavement. That I have to be escorted by you.”

The officer said: “I am telling you that I will help you by escorting you over there and that way you will be completely safe just as we promised, so we are keeping our word.”

Mr Falter said: “I am only safe basically if I have a police escort, is that what you are telling me?”

The officer said: “I am offering it to you sir.

“I have already seen you deliberately leave the pavement and walk against this march. You chose to do that.”

Mr Falter said: “I was trying to get to the other side of the road.”

Amid the ongoing exchange, the noisy march continued in the background with protesters carrying placards and chanting “Palestine will be free.”

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Met resignation is ‘not the way forward’

‘Antagonise’

After several more exchanges, Mr Falter asked if it was because he was Jewish he was being stopped from crossing the road as it would “antagonise” the crowd.

The officer said: “You are quite obviously Jewish in appearance, you are outwardly demonstrating your faith.”

He added: “You decided to walk out into the road… and deliberately walk against the flow of people.

“This is quite clearly a pro-Palestinian demonstration. My concern is that your behaviour changed.

“You were at first on the footway, you were not causing any issues. You then decided to move into the road, not to cross it but walk against the flow of people.”

Mr Falter said: “What are you talking about? I was walking across the road.”

The officer then said: “I am sorry, which word didn’t you understand? You were walking against the flow of people.

“That’s why I asked you to move to the pavement.”

When Mr Falter asked if he would be allowed to cross the road if he removed his kippah, the officer said he would not because he was not confident he would not put it back on.

Someone unidentified can then be heard to say: “You are going round in circles now lads.”

Threat of arrest

The campaigner then spoke to another officer who said if he remained he would be arrested.

He was told his presence was “antagonising” a large group of people “and we can’t deal with all of that if they attack you”.

The officer said: “You deliberately tried to walk through the group.

“I watched what you did, you were walking through them in a straight line.”

Pointing away from the march, the officer added: “When you have a route here that offers you no resistance whatsoever it is an antagonistic action to take.”

Mr Falter restated he would like to cross the road as someone could be heard to shout “baby killers”.

He again moved to the pavement, where protesters had gathered with flags and placards, leading a police officer to put a restraining arm around him.

As well as chants of “Palestine will be free” there were also shouts of “shame on you” and “scum”.

The original police sergeant asked Mr Falter: “Where are you looking to go now? You are still heading the wrong way.”

As the situation appeared to grow even more volatile, the officer repeated his offer to escort Mr Falter away as he continued to remonstrate with police arguing they had failed to deal with protesters “behaving badly”.

Pro-Palestinian protesters, some of them masked, chanted at Mr Falter: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The chant is viewed by some pro-Israel supporters as a way to call for the eradication of the Israeli state. Some pro-Palestinian supporters reject this, saying it is simply expressing the need for equality for all inhabitants of historic Palestine.

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Police investigating after man and woman in 70s found dead in Stoke-on-Trent

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Police investigating after man and woman in 70s found dead in Stoke-on-Trent

Police are investigating after a man and a woman in their 70s were found dead at a house in Stoke-on-Trent.

Officers were called to a report of two bodies found at a property on Catalina Place, Meir Park, at 1pm on Saturday, Staffordshire Police said.

They were pronounced dead at 2.15pm.

Staffordshire Police said: “An investigation is being carried out to establish the circumstances of the incident.

“At this stage, we are confident there is no wider threat or risk to the community.”

The man and woman have not been publicly named.

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Their family are being supported by specialist officers.

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