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Three British aid workers killed in Israeli airstrike in Gaza

Three British nationals have been killed by an Israeli airstrike that hit an aid convoy in Gaza, World Central Kitchen has confirmed.

The three Britons were among seven aid workers employed by the charity spearheading efforts to alleviate looming famine in Gaza.

The group had been travelling in two armoured vehicles branded with the charity’s logo, according to a statement released early on Tuesday.

WCK said those killed were from the UK, Australia, Poland and Palestine, as well as a US-Canada dual citizen. The charity said it was suspending operations in the Palestinian territory.

Rishi Sunak, the UK prime minister, told broadcasters during a visit to the northeast of England on Tuesday morning: “We are asking Israel to investigate what happened urgently, because clearly there are questions that need to be answered.

“My thoughts are with [the victims’] friends and family. They are doing fantastic work bringing alleviation to the suffering that many are experiencing in Gaza,” he added.

Keir Starmer condemned the strike and called for a full investigation and immediate ceasefire. “Reports of the death of British nationals – among others from World Central Kitchen – in an Israeli strike on Gaza are horrifying,” the Labour leader said. “Our thoughts are with the families of all of those killed.

“This war must stop now. Far too many innocent people have died in this conflict and more than a million are facing starvation.”

The Foreign Office has not yet confirmed the deaths of UK nationals and is working to support the families. David Cameron, the foreign secretary, said that news of the airstrike was “deeply distressing” and that Israel should “immediately investigate” and “provide a full, transparent explanation of what happened”.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said the aid workers were killed by an “unintended strike” by Israeli forces.

The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, told the BBC’s World at One: “This is a war machine totally out of control in Gaza.” He said more aid workers had been killed there “than in any other conflict”.

Egeland said he had visited Gaza recently and ate meals with the WCK. “There is no nobler task,” he said. “I saw the good work of these very compassionate people helping the civilian population.”

Alicia Kearns, the chair of the UK’s foreign affairs committee, said: “Humanitarian agencies must be given the assurances they need that their people will be protected.” UK-based aid agencies have condemned the strike.

The UK-based charity Medical Aid for Palestinians said it was a “horrific attack” that demonstrated there was “no safe place in Gaza, whether you are Palestinian, British or any other nationality”.

It added: “Gaza is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an aid worker right now.”

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