Australian aid worker survives shots near checkpoint in Gaza, UNICEF contacts Israel authorities

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A former Australian journalist turned aid worker says she is “really lucky” to have survived after shots were fired at her vehicle near a checkpoint to enter northern Gaza.

Tess Ingram, who once worked for the Australian Financial Review’s Perth bureau and WAToday, now works for the United Nations Children’s Fund.

She told Al Jazeera she was in a convoy of UNICEF vehicles and other aid vehicles on a co-ordinated mission to deliver fuel and water wells when shots were fired as they waited at the holding point near the checkpoint.

“We were waiting there when gunfire broke out in the vicinity,” she said.

“The gunfire came from the direction of the checkpoint towards civilians, who then ran away from the checkpoint, and the gunfire hit us.

“We were really lucky. We had some colleagues outside of the car checking a mechanical problem with the nutrition truck when the fire broke out, and they had to run back to our armoured vehicle. Fortunately, they were safe.

“But three bullets hit the car that I was in right on my passenger door, the window and also the bonnet of the car.

“This is just another example of how unsafe it is for humanitarian aid workers and how missions like these are made impossible.”

Ms Ingram said the group had raised the issue with the relevant Israeli authorities.

“Safety is not guaranteed even when we take all of the required steps,” she said.

One of the planned stops was to a hospital where children were dying from malnutrition, she said.

The shooting meant the group could not deliver the supplies but Ms Ingram said they would try again.