Australian PM expresses ‘anger’ to Netanyahu over aid worker’s death


A man displays British, Polish, and Australian passports next to the bodies of World Central Kitchen workers at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip. – AFP photo

SYDNEY (April 3): Australia’s prime minister on Wednesday expressed his “anger” to Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, calling for accountability after an Australian aid worker and six others were killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he spoke to Netanyahu by phone early this morning, telling him that “Australians were outraged” by the death of Australian national Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom.

“I expressed Australia’s anger and concern at the death of Zomi Frankcom, an Australian aid worker working for World Central Kitchen, providing support for people who are suffering from tremendous deprivation,” Albanese told reporters.

World Central Kitchen said a “targeted attack” by Israeli forces had killed the seven aid workers, a group that included Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian employees.

Netanyahu later admitted that Israel’s military had “unintentionally” killed them in an air strike.

He said it was a “tragic case” that would be investigated “right to the end”, but stopped short of apologising for the deaths.

Albanese said there was a need for “accountability” and “transparency” as investigators started to unravel what happened.

“There is a need for a thorough investigation into what happened here and Prime Minister Netanyahu committed to that,” Albanese said following the phone call.

“I made clear again that it is Australia’s view that humanitarian assistance must reach people in Gaza unimpeded and in large quantities.”

Television clips and posts on social media painted a picture of Frankcom as an intrepid aid worker who did not shy away from the frontlines of disaster.

In September last year, Frankcom travelled to Morocco to help World Central Kitchen relief efforts in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

World Central Kitchen is one of two NGOs spearheading efforts to deliver aid to Gaza by boat from Cyprus. — AFP