/ 03 April 2024

Israel’s war hits home

TOPSHOT - Rockets are fired from Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, towards Israel on May 10, 2021. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
Image source: Getty

The Squiz

Australian aid worker Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom has been killed in central Gaza along with 6 international colleagues after their vehicles were targeted by an Israeli airstrike on Monday. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the “tragic” event was “unintentional” and that his government will do everything “to ensure it never happens again”. Frankcom worked for the food charity World Central Kitchen (WCK), distributing aid supplies to civilians, and she was on her way to Rafah when the group was hit by a missile. The 43yo worked in humanitarian aid for many years, including in Oz during the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires. WCK confirmed the deaths on X (aka Twitter) saying, “humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER.” 

What’s been the response?

PM Anthony Albanese has asked for a phone call with Netanyahu to discuss the incident. “We want full accountability for this. This is a tragedy that should never have occurred”, he said of the attack, which also killed citizens of the United Kingdom, Poland, Palestine, and a dual US/Canadian. He reiterated that the Australian Government supports a “sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza. Overnight, Netanyahu acknowledged his forces had killed innocent people. “This happens in wartime. We are thoroughly looking into it…and will do everything to ensure it does not happen again,” he said. There’s been an outpouring of grief from Frankcom’s friends who say she “risked her life many times to help those in dire need”, and her family says she leaves behind “a legacy of compassion”. 

What else is happening?

A lot… Iran has vowed revenge after an Israeli airstrike on its consulate in Syria killed at least 11 people, including 2 generals. Israel has escalated its targeting of Iran as it provides money and weapons to Hamas in Gaza. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says the attack violated “all diplomatic norms and international treaties”. Also making headlines is Israel’s temporary ban on the Qatari-owned news agency Al Jazeera, with Netanyahu promising to “immediately” shut down its Israel office. He’s called the media outlet a risk to national security – it’s part of a long-running feud between Netanyahu and the network. The US has expressed concerns over the move, saying freedom of the press is “critical” as foreign journalists are banned from Gaza, meaning Al Jazeera staff had been some of the only people reporting on the ground.

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