Albanese seeks meeting with Netanyahu over aid worker deaths in Gaza

Albanese seeks meeting with Netanyahu over aid worker deaths in Gaza

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he is yet to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the air strike that killed seven aid workers, including one Australian.

Melbourne-born Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom was among the seven World Central Kitchen workers killed in an airstrike on central Gaza yesterday.

Albanese said on Tuesday night that the Australian government had “spoken with the Israeli government” but he was still waiting to speak directly with Netanyahu as he pushed for an explanation “for this tragedy”.

READ MORE: ‘Selfless, outstanding’ Australian aid worker killed in Gaza airstrike

Anthony Albanese on ABC's 730

“To have aid workers, not just from Australia but other nations as well, going about the business of assisting, in the most humanitarian way, their fellow global citizens – in this case the people of Gaza, who are suffering from incredible deprivation – to have them killed in this way is completely unacceptable,” Albanese said on the ABC’s 7.30 tonight.

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“The targeting of these people is just a tragedy.”

Netanyahu acknowledged late tonight that Israel’s forces had carried out the “unintended strike” on “innocent people in the Gaza Strip”.

He said officials were looking into the strike and would “do everything for this not to happen again”.

As well as Frankcom, those killed include three British nationals, a Polish national, an American-Canadian dual citizen and a Palestinian.

Albanese said the strike was “completely unacceptable”.

“We await the details and we await a full explanation. But we want, as the Australian government, accountability for what has occurred to this Australian citizen.”

Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong issued a strongly-worded statement condemning the strike.

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A man displays blood-stained British, Polish, and Australian passports after an Israeli airstrike, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, Monday, April 1, 2024.

“The government has made representations to the Netanyahu government and seeks a thorough and expeditious review,” she said.

“We expect full accountability for these deaths.

“We repeat our demands for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire leading to a sustainable ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and that international humanitarian law be upheld.”

Wong paid tribute to Frankcom for “a life dedicated to the service of others, including her fellow Australians during natural disasters” and expressed her “deepest sympathies” to her family.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“Her tireless work to improve the lives of others should never have cost Ms Frankcom her own,” Wong said.

Albanese said he had spoken to Frankcom’s brother.

“They are, of course, devastated by this news,” he told 7.30.

“This is just an extraordinary tragedy, it’s one that they certainly weren’t expecting.

“Zomi knew the risks, but when you’re there providing aid and support and doing such extraordinarily good work, you don’t expect that to happen.”

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The prime minister repeated the government’s calls for “a humanitarian ceasefire and a sustainable ceasefire” in the region.

“We have called for ceasefires,” Albanese said.

“We’ve voted that way in the United Nations and we’ve put out statements calling for that way. But it must be sustainable. You don’t want a ceasefire and then it to recommence in just a short period of time.

“The hostages have to be released as well. And we need a path to a sustainable peace in the region.”

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