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Damian Sobol, Zomi Frankcom and More – Who were Seven Aid Workers Killed in Gaza?

Damian Sobol, Zomi Frankcom and five other aid workers for World Central Kitchen were killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza Monday.

World Central Kitchen says it is pausing its operations in Gaza following the strike.

The deceased aid workers included British, Polish, Australian, Palestinian citizens as well as a dual US-Canadian citizen.

So far, the identified ones include Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom, Damian Sobol and Saif Abu Taha.

Authorities are yet to confirm the identies of remaining victims.

Damian Sobol

Damian Sobol was a Polish aid worker with World Central Kitchen killed in the unfortunate airstrike.

Mr Sobol, from Przemysl in south-eastern Poland, was originally identified by the city’s mayor in a Facebook post.

Wojciech Bakun called Mr Sobol a “fantastic boy” and said words could not describe how those who knew him were feeling.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski also confirmed the killing.

“Our brave compatriot, Mr Damian Sobol from Przemysl, helped people in need in Gaza where there is a humanitarian crisis. He was killed during an attack which the Israeli army has accepted responsibility for,” he said in a video message on X.

According to colleagues of Damian Sobol, he had taken part in delivering aid to Ukrainian refugees following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Zomi Frankcom

Lalzawmi Zomi Frankcom was an Australian aid worker who was killed in the IDF airstrike as well.

“We are deeply mourning the news that our brave and beloved Zomi has been killed doing the work she loves, delivering food to the people of Gaza,” her family said in a statement.

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

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The Melbourne-born 43-year-old “was a kind, selfless and outstanding human being [who] travelled the world helping others in their time of need”, her family said.

In late March, Frankcom appeared in a video filmed at Deir al-Balah talking about the meals being prepared for Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip.

“WCK’s Zomi & Chef Oli are in our new Deir al-Balah kitchen where our team is cooking thousands of portions of rice with beef & vegetable stew today. We’re expanding this space so we can increase the amount of meals we produce for families in central Gaza daily. #ChefsForThePeople,” the post read.

Dora Weekley, a friend and former WCK colleague, told ABC News that Ms Frankcom was “dedicated” and someone who made sure people in need had a hot meal to look forward to every day.

Weekley and Frankcom had met in 2019 and since then, they’ve worked together as aid workers at Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, and again during the summer bushfires in Australia.

Saif Abu Taha

Saif Abu Taha was a Palestinian driver who was part of the aid workers killed during the IDF strike on a World Central Kitchen convoy.

Hundreds of people mourned Saif Abu Taha as his body was transported to Rafah, his hometown, where relatives, colleagues and friends carried him on their shoulders.

“He was happy to work with an organisation that provides humanitarian aid to the displaced, our hearts are broken by your death, Saif,” his close friend Hassan said amid tears, sadness and anger.

“You have hurt us with your passing, and we will not forget you. We pray for your mercy, Saif, and may God give us patience and give patience to your family and loved ones.”

Others

The World Central Kitchen confirmed that three British nationals were killed in the attack.

UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said the Foreign Office was working to verify reports of the deaths, adding that full support would be provided to their families.

Additionally, a dual U.S-Canadian citizen was also killed in the strike.

The strike

The World Central Kitchen released a statement revealing an attack on its workers by the Israeli army.

The statement read…

World Central Kitchen is devastated to confirm seven members of our team have been killed in an IDF strike in Gaza.

The WCK team was traveling in a deconflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft skin vehicle.

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Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.

“This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” said World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore.

The seven killed are from Australia, Poland, United Kingdom, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, and Palestine.

“I am heartbroken and appalled that we—World Central Kitchen and the world—lost beautiful lives today because of a targeted attack by the IDF. The love they had for feeding people, the determination they embodied to show that humanity rises above all, and the impact they made in countless lives will forever be remembered and cherished,” said Erin.

The IDF says it is “carrying out an in-depth examination at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of this tragic incident.”

World Central Kitchen is pausing our operations immediately in the region. We will be making decisions about the future of our work soon.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters, according to Wikipedia.

Founded in 2010 by Spanish American chef and restaurateur José Andrés, the organization prepared food in Haiti following its devastating earthquake.

Its method of operations is to be a first responder and then to collaborate and galvanize solutions with local chefs to solve the problem of hunger, immediately following a disaster.

Jose Andres

Born in Spain, where he learned the craft of cooking first from his parents and then in the kitchen of Ferran Adrià’s groundbreaking avant-garde restaurant elBulli – José Andrés immigrated to the United States in 1991, first to New York City and later to Washington, D.C., where he and his partners established a group of restaurants that has earned countless fans and won numerous awards over the years.

José holds close both his identity as a Spanish immigrant and an American citizen, placing upon himself the responsibility of both culinary ambassador and immigrant representing the two nations.

He is a visionary and a humanitarian, establishing World Central Kitchen in 2010 as a means for feeding the many – using culinary training programs to empower communities and strengthen economies as well as food disaster relief in the wake of emergencies around the globe.

He has been widely recognized for both his culinary and his humanitarian work, including by the James Beard Foundation – which named him Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2003, as well as Humanitarian of the Year in 2018; TIME Magazine, which included him on the list of 100 Most Influential People in 2012 and 2018; and President Obama, who awarded José the National Humanities Medal in 2015. José holds two Michelin stars for his avant-garde tasting counter minibar by José Andrés in Washington, D.C., as well as four Bib Gourmands.

Thank you for reading Damian Sobol, Zomi Frankcom and More – Who were Seven Aid Workers Killed in Gaza?

This post was published on April 2, 2024 6:57 PM

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