Australia outraged by death of aid worker in Israeli airstrike, PM says

ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting in Jakarta

By Renju Jose

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday his country was outraged by the "completely unacceptable" death of an Australian aid worker in Gaza from an Israeli airstrike, and said Israel had committed to a thorough investigation.

Albanese said he spoke with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and conveyed Australia's anger and concern at the death of Zomi Frankcom.

"This is completely unacceptable," Albanese said during a press conference. "I conveyed to Prime Minister Netanyahu in very clear terms that Australians were outraged by this death."

Albanese said he raised the importance of full accountability and transparency, and that Netanyahu had committed to a comprehensive probe.

Netanyahu said on Tuesday an Israeli airstrike had mistakenly killed seven people working for the aid charity World Central Kitchen in Gaza, and the U.S. and other allies called for explanations.

The strike killed citizens of Australia, Britain and Poland as well as Palestinians and a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada.

When asked by a reporter if Israel was at risk of losing the power of moral persuasion due to the deaths of civilians in Gaza, Albanese said the global community was very concerned.

"I think people when they look at what is happening in Gaza are very clear about the extraordinary loss of life which is there and I believe that Australians are very concerned about that," Albanese said.

"This latest incident will add to the concern."

Albanese said he reiterated Australia's view to Israel that humanitarian assistance must reach Gaza unimpeded and in large quantities.

Frankcom's family said they were still reeling from the shock and requested privacy.

"We are deeply mourning the news that our brave and beloved Zomi has been killed doing the work she loves delivering food to the people of Gaza," the family said in a statement.

"She will leave behind a legacy of compassion, bravery and love for all those in her orbit."

Aid worker Jessica Olney, a California friend of Frankcom, called her a "humanitarian hero."

"I was continuously amazed by her positivity and her ability to stay joyful and warm and caring in spite of all the horrible things she must have constantly seen in her work," Olney said.

"You see images going around now of Zomi's smile and I want people to know that that smile was really who she was. That smile was constantly on her face."

(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney and Omar Younis in Los Angeles; Editing by Stephen Coates and Jamie Freed)