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Bodies of killed aid workers to be repatriated

The remains of the six international staff, who were killed alongside one Palestinian colleague, were set to be taken out of Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt
One of the ambulances carrying the bodies of staff members of aid group World Central Kitchen, arrive at the Rafah crossing with Egypt. — AFP
One of the ambulances carrying the bodies of staff members of aid group World Central Kitchen, arrive at the Rafah crossing with Egypt. — AFP
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GAZA: The bodies of six foreign aid workers killed in a Gaza strike were expected to be transported out of the war-torn Palestinian territory on Wednesday as Israel faced a chorus of outrage over their deaths.


Israeli bombardment killed seven staff of the US-based food charity World Central Kitchen on Monday in an attack that UN chief Antonio Guterres labelled "unconscionable" and "an inevitable result of the way the war is being conducted".


The remains of the six international staff, who were killed alongside one Palestinian colleague, were set to be taken out of Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, said Marwan Al-Hams, director of the city's Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital.


Israel's armed forces chief Herzi Halevi called the attack a "grave mistake", which he blamed on nightime "misidentification", adding in a video message that "we are sorry for the unintentional harm to the members of WCK".


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier pledged the "tragic case" would be investigated "right to the end".


The seven deaths piled more pressure on Israel where the UN warns the population of 2.4 million is on the brink of famine.


US President Joe Biden said he was "outraged and heartbroken" by the deaths and charged that Israel "has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians".


Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had voiced his "anger and concern" in a phone call with Netanyahu, while Britain summoned the Israeli ambassador and demanded "full accountability".


Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk wrote on X to Netanyahu and Israel's ambassador, saying the deaths were straining ties and that "the tragic attack against volunteers and your reaction are generating an understandable anger".


After their deaths, the charity suspended operations and a ship that had carried food aid from Cyprus to Gaza turned back towards the Mediterranean island with around 240 tonnes of supplies that had not been unloaded.


Israel's retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,916 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry Gaza.


Overnight, Israeli strikes killed at least 60 more people, the ministry said.


Palestinian groups seized around 250 captives on October 7. Israel believes about 130 remain in Gaza, including 34 who are presumed dead.


The families of the captives have staged four straight nights of mass protests, joined by a resurgent anti-government movement.


Thousands gathered in front of parliament Tuesday, with former prime minister Ehud Barak blaming Netanyahu for the October 7 "disaster" and demanding new elections. — AFP


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