Claim British engines powered Israeli drone in deadly aid convoy attack

Britain is accused of being complicit in Israel’s killing of seven aid workers in Gaza amid claims that weapons used in the attack were powered by UK-made engines.

Israel struck a World Central Kitchen (WCK) convoy carrying charity workers, including three Britons, with a Hermes 450 drone, according to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). It said the weapon – known as a “Zik” drone in Israel – could have been powered by a British component.

The three British citizens killed were named yesterday as John Chapman, 57, James “Jim” Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47. They were part of the security team.

The deaths, described by Benjamin Netanyahu as “unintended”, prompted an outpouring of anger as pressure grows on the British government to suspend arms transfers to Israel.

Senior Tory Sir Alan Duncan, a former foreign minister, was among those to speak out against the attack, describing it in The Independent as “a tipping point in Israel’s collapsing reputation” and asking whether Britain should reconsider Israel as an ally.

Citing figures from the Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry, he said: “As the death toll in Gaza has risen from 1,000 to 10,000 to 30,000, Israel’s justification for this excess feels ever less convincing … Through its deceit and callousness, Israel has now lost the support of the world. Nobody any longer believes its statements.”

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy joined the calls for the arms trade to cease, accusing his ministerial counterpart David Cameron of “going silent” on the question of whether or not Israel is complying with international humanitarian law in relation to the sales. “The law is clear,” he said. “British arms licences cannot be granted if there is a clear risk.”


As more details emerged about the bombing and its victims, CAAT accused the UK of being “complicit in the murder of UK aid workers” and said it must halt arms sales to Israel. The Independent has approached the Department of Business and Trade for comment.

“This government has had every opportunity to impose an arms embargo and has refused to do so. While our thoughts are with the families and friends of the aid workers killed, they are also with the families and friends of the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have been killed by Israel,” said spokesperson Emily Apple.

She cited claims that the Foreign Office is hiding legal advice that Israel is breaching international humanitarian law, according to foreign affairs committee chair Alicia Kearns.

Since 2015, the UK has licensed £487m worth of weapons to Israel, although this does not include equipment exported via open licences.

According to its own export licensing criteria, the UK must halt arms sales when there is a clear risk they could be used in humanitarian violations.

Israel has admitted launching the deadly strike on the convoy, saying it was unintended and “tragic”. The military promised that an independent inquiry would be held.

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  • Source of information and images “independent”

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