Albanese tells Israeli PM of ‘anger’ over Australian aid worker’s death

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has phoned Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to express Australia’s “anger and concern” over the killing of aid worker Zomi Frankcom in Gaza.

Apr 03, 2024, updated Apr 03, 2024

Frankcom, who has been remembered as a selfless and outstanding person, was among seven World Central Kitchen charity workers killed by an Israeli air strike while delivering food to Palestinians.

Albanese confirmed he spoke with Netanyahu on Wednesday morning.

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

Albanese said Netanyahu has 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,” he said.

Australian Zomi Frankcom and six other World Central Kitchen aid workers were killed by an Israeli airstrike while trying to deliver food in Gaza. Photo: AP

Albanese deflected questions about whether the government was considering expelling Israel’s top diplomat in Australia ambassador Amir Maimon.

Asked if he outlined any consequences if the government deemed the investigation unsatisfactory, he said he reiterated Australia’s concern at the loss of life.

Netanyahu said the Israeli military had carried out the “unintended strike”.

“Unfortunately in the past day there was a tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said in a video statement released overnight.

“This happens in war. We will do everything to prevent a recurrence.”

As relations between the two nations sink to a new low, Foreign Minister Penny Wong says she told her Israeli counterpart on Tuesday night that Australians were “outraged” by Frankcom’s death.

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

“I made clear we expect a full, thorough transparent inquiry and explanation and we expect full accountability.”

The foreign minister said the government would not “back away” from its strong advocacy for accountability.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a post on X, he sent his condolences to the countries and families of the aid workers killed in Gaza.

Frankcom’s family says they are 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 in a statement.

“She will leave behind a legacy of compassion, bravery and love for all those in her orbit.”

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 paused its operations in Gaza as a result of the deaths.

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


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