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PM shares anger over aid worker’s killing with Israel

Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom died in an Israeli air strike while delivering food in Gaza. Photo: supplied

By Tess Ikonomou and Kat Wong in Canberra

Anthony Albanese has expressed the nation’s anger at the killing of an Australian aid worker in Gaza to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding full transparency and accountability over the death.

Zomi Frankcom, 43, who has been remembered as selfless and courageous, was among seven charity workers killed in an Israeli air strike while delivering food to Palestinians.

Mr Albanese spoke with Israel’s leader on Wednesday morning.

“I expressed Australia’s anger and concern at the death of Zomi Frankcom,” he told reporters.

The prime minister said Mr Netanyahu committed to “full transparency” and a thorough investigation.

“The Israeli government has accepted responsibility for this and Prime Minister Netanyahu conveyed his condolences to the family of Zomi Frankcom and to Australia as a result of this tragedy,” Mr Albanese said.

The prime minister deflected questions about whether he was considering expelling Israel’s ambassador to Australia.

Asked about potential consequences if the investigation was deemed unsatisfactory, he did not provide a direct response.

Israel Defence Forces boss Herzi Halevi said the air strike “shouldn’t have happened”.

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification,” he said in a video message.

The United Nations Security Council voted for an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan in late March but Israel has continued to bomb Gaza.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton expressed his condolences to Ms Frankcom’s family, but maintained the deaths of innocents ultimately stemmed from Hamas.

“It’s a tragic circumstance,” he told reporters.

“The consequences we see, where innocent people are losing their lives in the Middle East, are a direct result of Hamas’s attacks on the 7th of October.”

Foreign Minister Penny Wong expressed Australia’s outrage during a conversation with her Israeli counterpart.

“I made clear that we believe the death of any aid worker is unacceptable, and frankly, outrageous,” she said.

Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon has been summoned to a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Ahead of the meeting, the ambassador released a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths.

“Israel will thoroughly investigate this tragedy to guarantee the safety and security of aid workers in Gaza,” Mr Maimon said.

Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi joined more than 100 protesters at a rally in Melbourne’s CBD in response to Ms Frankcom’s death.

“We have Western governments including the Australian governments who just keep on supporting this genocide with impunity,” she said.

The Australian Palestine Advocacy Network said the deaths of humanitarian workers were not just a tragedy, but a crime.

They urged the government to expel the Israeli ambassador and impose sanctions on Tel Aviv.

Ms Frankcom’s family said they were reeling from the shock.

“She was a kind, selfless and outstanding human being that has travelled the world helping others in their time of need,” they said.

World Central Kitchen chief executive Erin Gore described the “unforgivable” attack as one against all humanitarian organisations where food was being used as a “weapon of war”.

The charity has paused its operations in Gaza.

More than 30,000 people in the Gaza Strip have been killed since Israel declared war on Hamas in retaliation to the October 7 attack when Hamas militants killed 1200 Israelis and took more than 200 hostages.

Israel’s bombing campaign has since displaced at least 1.7 million Palestinians and many more are starving as Tel Aviv throttles aid into northern Gaza.

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5 Responses to PM shares anger over aid worker’s killing with Israel

Ray says: 3 April 2024 at 8:44 am

Nope, not outraged… a little surprised it took this long for one of our foreign nationals to end up dying in a ‘war’ that they inserted themselves into.

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cbrapsycho says: 3 April 2024 at 2:13 pm

The IDF are either completely incompetent or criminal and there’s strong consistent evidence to support both propositions. They were expecting this convoy and it was clearly marked, so it’s hard to see this as an accident. However we know that Israeli Intelligence and the IDF failed Israelis and thus enabled the Hamas attack on Oct 7, whilst Netanyahu’s Israeli government has long supported Hamas to prevent a 2 state solution. The IDF killed over a hundred people at an aid distribution point. Accidental? They’d have to be idiots to make a mistake that big. They’ve killed over 30,000 civilians and that is a massive ‘mistake’ that cannot be explained wh ten they insist the IDF makes ‘precision strikes’. Israel is creating anti-semitism worldwide, with its inhumane actions against Palestinians and all who aim to help them. They’ve even killed their own Israeli hostages!

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cbrapsycho says: 3 April 2024 at 2:26 pm

Ray, what a cold heartless comment! They were trying to help starving kids and families, not fighting in the war. Yes, it’s risky work in a warzone, but they’d reduced the risk by clearly their actions with the Israelis first. We’d all like people to help us in a similar situation. These people are heroes!

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Uncle Red says: 4 April 2024 at 12:19 am

Rockets do not check passports to excempt Australian aid workers from other civilians they have been killing by the tens of thousands. One Australian killed and the prime minister chirps in with demands co one is meeting but here is no comparable concern for those thousands of others. It is sad for the relations and friends bu there is no indicatior of our nations anger. It’s a war after all!

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cbrapsycho says: 4 April 2024 at 1:51 am

Dutton is either stupid or just plain bigoted. The deaths of aid workers were the direct result of Israeli and IDF actions to blow them up, despite knowing that they were aid workers in a clearly marked convoy that they had cleared to travel that route. These actions were criminally intentional or negligent. Hamas did not kill these people.

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