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Israel's explanation for aid worker deaths unsatisfactory, Australia says

April 8, 2024 at 12:14 pm

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on March, 13, 2023 [Tayfun Coşkun/Anadolu Agency]

Israel is yet to provide a satisfactory explanation for the death of seven aid workers last week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said today as Australia appointed a senior former military official to study Israel’s inquiry into the incident, Reuters reports.

Israel said on Friday its soldiers mistakenly believed they were attacking Hamas gunmen when air strikes killed the mostly international group of World Central Kitchen staff, including Australian “Zomi” Frankcom. Two officers have been dismissed and others reprimanded.

Albanese said the explanation for the deaths was not adequate. Given that almost 200 aid workers had been killed in Israel’s bombing campaign, Tel Aviv needs to provide more information about what it would do to prevent similar events in the future, he added.

READ: ‘Legend, too good to be true’: Friend grieves for Australia aid worker killed in Gaza

“We don’t find the explanations to be satisfactory to this point,” he said in an interview on state broadcaster ABC. “We need proper accountability, we need full transparency about the circumstances and I think that is what the Australian public would expect.”

Albanese declined to say what actions Australia would consider adequate, or whether he would consider diplomatic sanctions should Israel fail to provide more information.

Australia today appointed a retired air force general to study Israel’s investigation and advise Canberra whether the inquiry was sufficient and whether further action was needed to hold those responsible to account.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said last month Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was undermining his country’s international standing with his approach to the war.