Killed aid worker’s family backs war crimes probe

Tess Ikonomou and Kat Wong |

The family of Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom backs a war crimes investigation into her death.
The family of Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom backs a war crimes investigation into her death.

The family of Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom has backed a war crimes investigation into the Israeli military’s conduct, as Anthony Albanese calls for the findings over her death to be made public.

The Israel Defence Forces said a preliminary investigation found the convoy of World Central Kitchen charity workers, who were delivering food in Gaza, was struck due to “misidentification”.

Israel’s explanation of how the seven aid workers were killed has been labelled “insufficient and unacceptable” by the prime minister.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wants the findings of Israel’s investigation to be made public. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

“What isn’t good enough are the statements that have been made, including that this is just a product of war,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“This is against humanitarian law.”

Mr Albanese said he demanded transparency and accountability in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning about Ms Frankcom’s death.

“I want those findings to be made public so that we find out how exactly this can occur,” he said.

World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres said the seven aid workers had been targeted by the Israeli military “systematically, car by car”.

The celebrity chef said the charity had told the military of their workers’ movements.

“This was not a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place’,” Mr Andres said.

Ms Frankcom’s family told Nine news outlets they supported a war crimes investigation and the laying of charges if they were justified.

They described Israel’s response to the deaths as “disappointing” and said the lives of humanitarian workers should always be protected. 

Asked if the investigation should go to the International Criminal Court, Mr Albanese said the government will take advice on an “appropriate way forward”.

Protesters in Sydney
Protesters rallied outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

In response to what they said was the government’s inaction, protesters took to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade office in Sydney, holding black-and-white photos of Ms Frankcom and posters splattered with symbolic blood.

“Anthony Albanese has cried crocodile tears about an Australian aid worker, Zomi Frankcom … yet he continues to support Israel’s genocidal war,” protest organiser Adam Adelpour said.

“Albanese refuses to support South Africa’s ICJ (International Court of Justice) case against Israel, refuses to impose sanctions and supplies parts for Israel’s planes and weapons.”

A protester with a photo of Zomi Frankcom
The protesters held photos of Ms Frankcom and posters splattered with symbolic blood. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Israeli government spokesman Avi Hyman claimed the strike on the aid workers was a “grave mistake” and not something the military would have done on purpose.

He also claimed there was no “imminent famine” in Gaza.

“It’s wildly exaggerated and the reason that it’s being exaggerated in the international community is because people want to immediately stop the war,” he told ABC Radio.

Oxfam Australia said people in northern Gaza have been forced to survive on an average of 245 calories a day – less than a can of beans – since January.

World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres.
World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres says the killed aid workers were the best of humanity. (AP PHOTO)

Oxfam also found that total food deliveries allowed into Gaza for the more than 2 million people living there amounted to an average of 41 per cent of the daily calorie intake needed per person.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Israel’s top diplomat in Australia Amir Maimon said the military “does and will continue to do everything in its power to prevent harm to civilians”.

“Israel will thoroughly investigate this tragedy to guarantee the safety and security of aid workers in Gaza,” the Israeli ambassador said.

Mr Maimon had not met with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra as requested, citing health issues.

Opposition foreign spokesman Simon Birmingham said the killing of Ms Frankcom was “an enormous tragedy and a terrible mistake”.

“We should expect that thorough investigation, we should expect it to be transparent, and we should take appropriate steps once it is made transparent,” he told Sky News.