American aid worker killed by Israeli airstrike in Gaza IDed as Jacob Flickinger

The American-Canadian aid worker who was killed by an Israeli airstrike alongside six of his World Central Kitchen colleagues while delivering food to the war-torn Gaza Strip has been identified as Jacob Flickinger , 33 Years.

Flickinger, who held dual U.S. and northern neighbor citizenship, was a member of the relief team for the Washington-based hunger relief charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés.

He and his fellow humanitarians had just delivered more than 100 tons of food to northern Gaza – where Palestinians face starvation because of the Israeli blockade – when Israeli missiles hit their three-car convoy.

World Central Kitchen employee Jacob Flinkinger, 33, a dual American and Canadian citizen, was killed by Israeli airstrikes.

Flickinger was killed along with Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, 43, of Australia; Damian Sobol, 35, from Poland; and Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, from Palestine.

Frankcom was the team leader while the others were members of the relief team.

Three members of the World Central Kitchen security team from the UK – identified as James (Jim) Henderson, 33; James Kirby, 47; and John Chapman, 57, also died in the attack. All three are former British military personnel.

“They are the heroes of World Central Kitchen,” Erin Gore, CEO of World Central Kitchen, said Tuesday. “These 7 beautiful souls were killed by the IDF in a strike while returning from a full day of mission.”

“Their smiles, their laughter and their voices will remain forever engraved in our memories. And we have countless memories of them giving their best to the world,” Gore added. “We are in shock at our loss. The loss of the world.

World Central Kitchen immediately suspended its operations in Gaza following the deaths, leaving Gazans at even greater risk of starvation amid the conflict. REUTERS

The nonprofit – one of the few humanitarian aid organizations braving dangerous conditions in Gaza – suspended its operations in the Palestinian territory following the deaths, increasing the risk of famine.

The CEO called the airstrike a “targeted attack” carried out by the Israel Defense Forces and noted that the caravan was traveling in vans clearly marked with the World Central Kitchen logo in a conflict-free zone, in coordination with the IDF.

The three vehicles which were a good distance from each other were hit successively and left burned and mutilated. At least one of them had the World Central Kitchen log on its roof – so as to be visible during an aerial attack – which ended up with a gaping hole as a result.

Gore said she was heartbroken and dismayed and called the airstrike “unforgivable” in a scathing statement immediately after news of the members’ deaths broke.

“This is not just an attack on WCK, it is also an attack on humanitarian organizations that respond to the most dire situations where food is used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” she said.

At least two of the vehicles clearly bore World Central Kitchen logos and all three vehicles were in a remote apartment when they were bombed in succession by the IDF. REUTERS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that the Israeli military was responsible for killings in what he called an “unintentional” strike, while adding that “this happens in times of war.”

“Unfortunately, on the last day there was a tragic case where our forces unintentionally hit innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said in Hebrew in a video message on X.

“It happens in times of war, we control it to the end, we are in contact with the governments and we will do everything to ensure that it does not happen again,” he added.

He later issued a second statement declaring that Israel “deeply regrets this tragic incident.”

“Our thoughts are with their families and their home country,” Netanyahu said in his second speech. “The Israeli military is conducting a prompt and transparent investigation and we will make our findings public. »

Yet world leaders have criticized Israel for the deadly strike, with some saying it further highlights the country’s alleged lack of respect for the lives of civilians in Gaza.

President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the deaths of aid workers.

“Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed aid to civilians,” he said in a rare criticism of the US ally.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby added that the killings show how dire the situation is with aid delivery to Gazans.

“This incident is emblematic of a larger problem and shows why aid distribution in Gaza has been so difficult,” Kirby said, according to ABC News. “But what – beyond the strike – is clear is that the IDF must do much more, much more to improve deconfliction processes so that civilians and aid workers are protected. »

According to the UN, more than 180 aid workers have been killed in the war between Israel and Hamas, making it one of the deadliest conflicts for volunteers and aid workers.

“This is almost three times the number of deaths recorded in a single conflict in one year,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.

The other six aid workers killed were from Australia, the United Kingdom, Poland and Palestine. REUTERS

Since the start of the conflict, more than 32,900 Palestinians have been killed, and children and women account for two-thirds of the deaths, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza. Fighting began on October 7 when Hamas invaded Israel and killed 1,200 people – mostly civilians – and took 250 hostages.

“The Israeli government must put an end to these indiscriminate massacres. It must stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon,” said Andrés, founder of World Central Kitchen.

With post wires

New York Post

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