Tess Ingram: Aussie aid worker’s plea after Gaza gunfire incident

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A former Australian journalist turned aid worker has vented her frustration over security measures put in place by Israel not being met, after the convoy she was travelling in was struck by bullets outside a checkpoint to enter northern Gaza.

Tess Ingram, a former Australian Financial Review and WAToday journalist, is in the Middle East working for UNICEF.

She was in a car as part of a joint UN convoy delivering fuel and water supplies to the north of Gaza when gunfire broke out as they waited to enter a checkpoint.

“We were instructed to wait at a holding area before we got to the check point where you cross into the north,” she told Nine’s Weekend Today on Saturday.

“It was while we were in that holding area that gunfire erupted and our vehicle was struck by three bullets.

“One in the front, one in my window and one in my passenger door, which was pretty frightening and completely unacceptable given we were on this co-ordinated mission and we were told to wait and our presence there was well known”

The incident occurred two weeks after seven Central World Kitchen workers, including Australian Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom were killed during an Israeli military air strike in Gaza.

“I’m frustrated because we saw with the killing of the seven World Central Kitchen colleagues bravely trying to do their work in Gaza, they were on a co-ordinated mission too,” Ms Ingram said.

“They were meant to be safe and so were we.

“We need to know when we get these safety assurances to go ahead on missions, that those safety assurances will be respected and we’ll be safe.”

She said UNICEF had escalated the incident to Israeli authorities.

“I was trying to figure out what was happening, I was trying to pull away from the window to make sure I was safe, trying to see if the civilians outside were okay,” she told Today.

Her statements come amid ongoing outrage over Israel’s actions during the conflict in the Gaza Strip, including their killing of the Central World Kitchen workers.

Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, who served as defence force chief from 2014 to 2018, has been appointed special adviser on Israel’s response to the deadly attack.

The government has demanded full accountability and transparency over the strike, rebuking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over comments he made which appeared to minimise the deaths.

Two Israeli officers were fired after an investigation found that the attack drone strikes that hit the charity vehicles, in violation of Israeli Defence Force (IDF) procedures.