UK refuses to say if Israel bombed British doctors with UK-supplied weaponry

British arms firms have supplied parts for Israel’s F-16 jets which bombed a UK medical charity in Gaza. The UK government is now refusing to rule out whether Israel used British equipment to carry out the attack.

20 March 2024
Heads-up-display from an F-16

F-16 components, like its head-up-display, have been made in Britain. (Photo: USAF)

On 18 January, Israeli forces bombed a residential compound in Gaza housing the emergency medical team of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), a British charity, as well as the US-based International Rescue Committee, which is run by former UK foreign secretary David Miliband.

Four British doctors were injured in the airstrike, alongside MAP staff members and a bodyguard. MAP described the attack as “near-fatal”, causing “significant damage to the building”, and requiring the “withdrawal of the six international members”.

The attack was carried out with an F-16 jet, components for which have been supplied by UK companies. As Declassified reported last month, there is therefore a distinct possibility that Israel bombed a British medical facility with UK-supplied weaponry.

‘Rule out conclusively’

Yesterday, Richard Burgon MP asked the Foreign Office to “rule out conclusively that no parts supplied by the UK were used to bomb a compound housing medical staff from a UK charity”.

Foreign minister Andrew Mitchell, one of the UK government’s leading apologists for Israel’s war on Gaza, refused to do so. 

He said: “The events… are appalling, and what the British Government would say is that there must be a full and transparent inquiry and examination into how those events took place”.


Did Israel bomb British doctors with UK-supplied weaponry?


Mitchell’s response indicates a clear lack of confidence that the Israeli forces are not using UK-supplied arms and weaponry to carry out war crimes in Gaza.

Recently filed court documents reveal that, as of January 2024, the UK government had 28 extant and 28 pending “high-risk” licences with Israel marked as “most likely to be used by the IDF in offensive operations in Gaza”.

‘A particular responsibility’

The Israeli government has failed to properly investigate the incident. 

In a statement, Medical Aid for Palestinians said that “six different explanations for why the airstrike took place” have been given. 

“As current suppliers of arms and munitions to Israel, governments such as the UK and the US have a particular responsibility to hold Israel accountable for this and other attacks on aid workers and civilians”, the organisation added.

This is one of a number of questions that the UK government has failed to answer about its military support to Israel. 

As Declassified recently reported, the Ministry of Defence is refusing to say whether its bases on Cyprus are being used to facilitate the bombing of Gaza, and is withholding all information about the Israeli military jets that have landed in Britain since 7 October.