Australia to appoint special adviser on probe over Gaza aid workers deaths

Australia to appoint special adviser on probe over Gaza aid workers deaths

Australia has said it will appoint a special adviser to work with Israel as it demands transparency in an investigation into an air strike on Gaza that killed seven aid workers, including an Australian.

Aid groups urge change after 'systematic' Israel attacks in Gaza

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wants detailed answers as to how aid workers from the US-based World Central Kitchen were killed by Israeli forces last Monday.

The group included 43-year-old Australian national Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom, as well as British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian employees.

The Australian government wants any probe by Israel to be monitored by its own advisor, who Albanese expects will be named "within the next twenty-four hours".

"The events which led to Zomi Frankcom losing her life are unacceptable," Albanese told reporters Sunday.

Australia will continue to seek clear information and transparency about the killings, he added, "which is why we will be appointing an appropriate person to examine the details of what has occurred".

His foreign minister Penny Wong has said information about the strike provided so far by Israel was insufficient and that the special adviser would monitor "the appropriateness of the (investigation) process".

Israel's military said it fired two officers over the killing of the aid workers in Gaza, where humanitarian groups say famine is imminent.

But the rare admission of wrongdoing by Israel did not quell calls for an independent probe.

The deaths of the aid workers led to a tense call between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The war in Gaza began on October 7 with an unprecedented attack from the territory by Hamas militants resulting in the deaths of 1,170 people in southern Israel, mostly civilians, Israeli figures show.

Palestinian militants also took around 250 Israeli and foreign hostages, about 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including more than 30 the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 33,137 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.


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