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Ex-SBS soldier & dad-of-three John Chapman will ‘forever be a hero’, devastated family say after ‘inhumane’ airstrike

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THE devastated family of a British dad killed in Gaza by the IDF have hailed him “forever a hero” in a heartbreaking tribute.

Ex-Special Forces solider John Chapman, 57, died alongside two other Brits and four charity workers when their car convoy was blasted.

John Chapman, former SBS hero, was among three Brits killed in an air strike while delivering aid in Gaza

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John Chapman, former SBS hero, was among three Brits killed in an air strike while delivering aid in GazaCredit: Reuters
The aid vehicle that was struck in the attack in Deir al-Balah

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The aid vehicle that was struck in the attack in Deir al-BalahCredit: Getty
Dad-of-three John has been described as 'popular' in tributes

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Dad-of-three John has been described as ‘popular’ in tributesCredit: Getty

Aid workers from World Central Kitchen were delivering much-needed aid to civilians in Gaza on Monday when Israeli drone missiles hit their vehicles.

Married dad-of-three John, formerly of the Special Boat Service, had been in Gaza only a few weeks after stints in the Middle East.

His family branded the “accidental” IDF airstrike that killed John, from Poole, as an “inhumane act”.

They described him as “an incredible father” in an emotional tribute.

It says: “We are devastated to have lost John, who was killed in Gaza.

“He died trying to help people and was subject to an inhumane act.

“He was an incredible father, husband, son and brother.

“We request we be given space and time to grieve appropriately.

“He was loved by many and will forever be a hero. He will be missed dearly”.

A former comrade also paid tribute yesterday, saying: “He was a very well-liked guy, a very popular bloke and this is a huge loss for his family, his friends and for the veteran community.

Rishi Sunak reveals he told Israeli PM deaths of ‘brave Brits’ in Gaza was ‘intolerable’ in blunt phone call

“People trying to deliver aid into Gaza are doing the right thing and they need support and protection from people like John and his colleagues to do their job.”

John was killed alongside six others, including two Brits – ex-Royal Marine James Henderson, 33, and  Army veteran James Kirby, 47. 

The three Brits worked for security firm Solace Global and were delivering food for US-based aid agency WCK.

The other victims were Polish, Australian, a Palestinian driver and a dual US-Canadian citizen.

British PM Rishi Sunak today paid tribute to the three Brits – calling their deaths an “awful tragedy”.

The PM also demanded a massive increase in the amount of aid as he warned of the “increasingly intolerable” situation. 

He made his first comments about the deaths of three British nationals on The Sun’s Never Mind The Ballots, set to air at 7pm tonight.

Mr Sunak told The Sun’s political editor Harry Cole: “It’s an awful, awful tragedy.

Ex-Royal Marine James Henderson was also killed

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Ex-Royal Marine James Henderson was also killedCredit: wck.org
The third Brit has been named as Army veteran James Kirby

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The third Brit has been named as Army veteran James KirbyCredit: wck.org
World Central Kitchen signs are clearly visible on the motor 'unintentionally' hit by Israeli drone missiles

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World Central Kitchen signs are clearly visible on the motor ‘unintentionally’ hit by Israeli drone missilesCredit: Getty

“To think these were brave Brits who were risking their lives to bring aid to people in need in Gaza… to have lost their lives in these circumstances is a tragedy. My thoughts obviously are with their families.”

He ramped up calls on Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu for a “transparent independent investigation” into their deaths.

Today, Israel’s highest-ranking officer apologised for his forces killing the seven aid workers.

Herzi Halevi insisted the bombing of the World Central Kitchen workers was a “grave mistake” – adding it was the result of “misidentification”.

He insisted: “Israel is at war with Hamas, not the people of Gaza.”

Halevi said the strike happened in “complex conditions” – but offered no further insight.

He said: “This incident was a grave mistake.

He [John] was loved by many and will forever be a hero. He will be missed dearly

John Chapman’s family

“I want to be very clear – the strike was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers.

“It was a mistake that followed a misidentification – at night during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened.”

Mr Sunak last night told Netanyahu he was appalled by the strike and said Israel’s aim of defeating Hamas would not be achieved by allowing a humanitarian disaster.

He added: “We are asking Israel to investigate what happened urgently.

“Clearly there are questions that need to be answered.”

The aid workers were in a deconflicted zone and had informed the IDF of their movements so should have been safe.

But shortly after setting off from an aid warehouse in the Gaza city of Deir al-Balah, they were hit on the coastal Al Rashid road.

Israeli media said an IDF unit believed they had seen an armed figure entering the warehouse.

Suspecting Hamas terrorists were using the convoy as cover, they fired on the WCK cars — two armoured and one soft-skin vehicle.

The seven victims killed in the disaster

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The seven victims killed in the disaster

The Sun’s Defence Editor’s analysis of the Middle East tinderbox

By Jerome Starkey, The Sun’s Defence Editor

FEARS that the Middle East could explode into all-out war are ratcheting up today after Iran vowed vengeance for a deadly Israeli missile strike on its embassy in Damascus, the capital of Syria.

At least 11 people were killed when a consular annex was reduced to rubble by strikes which Iran says were carried out by Israeli F-35 fighter jets.

Now among those 11 killed were two top Iranian generals, Brigadier Mohammed Reza Zahidi, who we understand commanded Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in Syria and neighbouring Iraq, and Brigadier Mohammed Haji Rahimi.

Also among the dead is a representative of the Hezbollah terrorist group Hussein Yusuf.

Both Iran and Hezbollah have vowed vengeance, with Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi saying this strike will not go unanswered.

The suggestion is that perhaps Israel has crossed a threshold with a strike on an embassy.

Embassies are sovereign soil of the nations they belong to, so this was a strike on sovereign Iranian soil in Syria and in one sense it is an escalation and the concerns that this could spiral out are in many ways well founded.

Interestingly today we’ve heard reports in the local media in Syria and in the region that America appears to be distancing itself from this strike, officials saying they had no advanced knowledge.

It would appear that the reason for this missile strike was the meeting between these Revolutionary Guard commanders and the representatives of Hezbollah.

We will now have to wait and see how Iran chooses to take its revenge.

Now of course, if you are an Israeli diplomat living abroad, then you may well think that you are now more of a target.

Because Israel has targeted an Iranian embassy, we may expect to see the possibility that Itan may target Israeli diplomats or missions around the world.

And we have just seen, in the last few days suspected Iranian agents attacking an Iranian journalist here in London.

Tehran is showing, perhaps by this stabbing that it maintains the ability and the capability to attack people it sees as critical of the regime enemies of the regime around the world.

Some context that we understand that Tehran employs criminal proxies to carry out that sort of dirty work doesn’t necessarily have the same sort of sophisticated overseas operations that we might expect of other hostile actors like Russia.

But nonetheless, I think in the wake of what happened in Damascus on Monday, combined with what’s been happening across the region in recent months, there is concern and anxiety to see how Iran responds and what that will elicit from Israel. 

Families’ 4-day hostage demo

By Robin Perrie

FAMILIES of 130 Israeli hostages still in Gaza branded Benjamin Netanyahu a “traitor” in a fourth night of protests.

Thousands gathered outside parliament in Tel Aviv to blame the PM and demand an election. Protesters also hurled yellow paint in the public gallery.

Einav Zangauker, whose son Matan is being held in Gaza, accused Netanyahu of trying to blacken the reputation of the hostage families.

He said: “You call us traitors when you are the traitor, a traitor to your people, to the State of Israel.”

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