Poland calls aid worker's killing in Gaza a murder, wants further investigation

FILE - Friends and residents gather to place candles and flowers in honor of Damian Soból, a Polish food aid worker who was killed with six other World Central Kitchen workers by Israeli airstrike in Gaza this week, in Soból's hometown of Przemysl, in southeastern Poland, on Thursday, April 4, 2024. World Central Kitchen and a few other aid groups suspended operations in Gaza, after seven aid workers were killed by airstrikes. Yet despite the danger, many of the largest organizations barely slowed down. Hunger has become commonplace in Gaza amid the war with Israel, and U.N. officials warn that famine is increasingly likely in northern Gaza. (AP Photo, File)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s government on Friday called the killing of a Polish aid worker by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza a murder, and demanded Israel’s support for a Polish investigation into the case.

Deputy Foreign Minister Władysław Teofil Bartoszewski told lawmakers in parliament that the April 1 death of Damian Soból, 35, and six other workers of the World Central Kitchen charity who were distributing food in Gaza was “shocking and disturbing.”

Poland expects Israel’s “full cooperation” in the investigation opened by Polish prosecutors in Soból’s hometown of Przemyśl in Poland’s southeast, Bartoszewski said. The prosecutors “have classified it as a murder,” he said.

Israel conducted a speedy investigation and took responsibility for the deaths, but said the attack that killed the aid workers and their Palestinian driver was a tragic mistake. It shared the findings with the countries that lost citizens in the attack. The Israeli military dismissed two officers and reprimanded three others, saying they violated the army’s rules of engagement.

Bartoszewski said that the dismissals and disciplinary measures were “inadequate,” and demanded that the case be tried by an independent court in Israel.

During a debate in the Polish parliament, many lawmakers said the killings should be considered a war crime.

Bartoszewski said Poland was working with other countries whose citizens were killed in the shelling — Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States — to jointly press for a detailed investigation into how cars marked as humanitarian convoy could have become targets of repeated shelling by the Israeli army.

He stressed that all international rules of defense were violated by that attack.

Bartoszewski also said that Poland is demanding compensation for the family of Soból, whose body has been brought back to Poland.