UK

Family of Briton killed in Gaza ‘disappointed’ at no apology from Israeli PM

James Kirby was one of three British victims who were working for aid organisation World Central Kitchen (WCK) when they were killed.

James Kirby, one of the seven aid workers who were killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza
Israel-Hamas conflict James Kirby, one of the seven aid workers who were killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza (World Central Kitchen/PA)

The family of Israeli air strike victim James Kirby said they are “disappointed” that the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not apologise after seven aid workers were killed.

The 47-year-old was one of three British victims working for aid organisation World Central Kitchen (WCK) who died when their convoy was struck after unloading food in Gaza.

Mr Netanyahu described the strike as “a tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants”, adding “this happens in war”.

Adam McGuire, Mr Kirby’s cousin, told Sky News: “I was disappointed in Benjamin Netanyahu’s response yesterday, for not saying sorry to the individuals.

“I know, I think it was his commander, or his chief did send out a better apology. But I think that, personally for me, as I said, this should be a turning point now where aid needs to flow to those areas and I think he needs to recognise that you can’t just indiscriminately hit people that are trying to save people.”

Mr McGuire said the family had been in contact with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, who told them the victims’ bodies were being moved to Cairo on Wednesday and should be back in the UK by the weekend.

“I phoned the Foreign (and) Commonwealth Office yesterday, they’ve been very good, they’ve kept us up to date. I’ve been in contact with my local MP, Darren Jones, they’ve offered their support as well if we needed it,” Mr McGuire said.

“We’re still in contact, we just took a call now regarding James and the other individuals and they’re being moved today, we believe, to Cairo so hopefully by the weekend James and the guys will be back home.”

Mr Kirby, a former Army sniper marksman who served tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan, was killed alongside fellow British military veterans John Chapman, 57, and James “Jim” Henderson, 33.

Amy Roxburgh-Barry, another of Mr Kirby’s cousins, said: “It’s just devastating that he’s fought in these wars and come home with not a scratch, and then he goes out to do something helpful, and that’s what happens.”

When asked if the family were looking for accountability in some form, Mr McGuire responded: “That will come out. As I said, Lord Cameron I think has asked for a full review and we’ll wait for that.”

Mr McGuire said the seven victims were “heroes” and hoped that their deaths would mark a “turning point” in the war.

“Not only James, but the six other individuals, they’re heroes to us. They went out there selflessly to help some of the most desperate people in the world,” he said.

“How this has happened is beyond any sort of recognition of how it could happen. For me personally, I just hope this is a turning point in the world now and what’s happening in Gaza.

“I don’t want to make a political thing of it but I just hope that world leaders can get together and help these people. It is people at the end of the day, civilians, and that’s what James was out there and the other six people were trying to do.”

Ms Roxburgh-Barry recalled the last phone conversation with her cousin and said he had been planning a surprise cruise for his mother and aunt.

“He wanted to send my mum and my auntie on a cruise once he’d sold his house because they felt they both needed it,” she told Sky News.

“My auntie didn’t know, it was supposed to be a surprise. That was the conversation we had, and that’s what we were going to pick up on when he was back.”

She said Mr Kirby was an “all-round gentleman”.