World Central Kitchen identifies the 7 aid workers killed by Israeli airstrike in Gaza – NBC Chicago

Israeli airstrikes that killed seven aid workers in Gaza reverberated around the world on Tuesday, as friends and relatives mourned the losses of those delivering food to besieged Palestinians with the charity World Central Kitchen .

Three British nationals, an Australian, a Pole, an American-Canadian with dual nationality and a Palestinian were killed. Some have traveled the world and participated in relief efforts in the aftermath of wars, earthquakes and wildfires.

“They are the heroes of World Central Kitchen,” wrote WCK CEO Erin Gore in a statement posted on the association’s website. “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 forever be etched in our memories. And we have countless memories of them giving their best to the world. We are in shock at our loss. The loss of the world.

Here is some information on those who have been identified.

Jacob Flickinger, United States-Canada

Jacob Flickinger, 33, was a dual American and Canadian citizen and worked with the World Central Kitchen rescue team.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly condemned the IDF strikes against aid workers as “absolutely unacceptable” in a post on X, formerly Twitter, and said those responsible for the deaths of Flinkinger and his colleague should be held responsible.

Saif Issam Abu Taha, Palestinian

Saif Issam Abu Taha, 27, had worked for World Central Kitchen as a driver and translator since the beginning of the year, his relatives said.

His brothers described him as a dedicated young man, eager to help his fellow Palestinians.

He was also a successful businessman who traded with Ukraine, Egypt, China and others, his brother Abdul Razzaq Abu Taha said. His work made him known on the Israeli side, his brother added, which helped with coordination and approval to help the World Central Kitchen team unload the ship.

Saif had hoped to get married. “My mother was looking for a wife for him,” said Abdul Razzaq Abu Taha. “He was supposed to get married if war didn’t break out.”

Saif and other workers were eager to unload food aid that Gaza desperately needs. The last time Saif and his brother spoke, he said they had finished work and he was going home.

After hearing about the airstrikes, Abdul Razzaq Abu Taha said he tried to call to see if Saif was okay.

After numerous attempts, he said, a stranger answered and told him, “I found this phone about 200 yards from the car.” Everyone inside is killed.

Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, Australia

Friends and family remember Lalzawmi “Zomi” Frankcom, 43, as a courageous and selfless woman whose concern for others led her to travel the world. For the past five years, she has worked for Washington-based World Central Kitchen, taking her to the United States, Thailand and her native Australia.

“We mourn this beautiful Australian who has always helped her fellow citizens, whether internationally or through the support she gave during the bushfires that took place during this dark summer,” said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “He is someone who clearly cared about his fellow man, humanity.”

In a statement, relatives described Frankcom as an “exceptional human being” who was “killed doing the job she loves delivering food to the people of Gaza.”

She was born in Melbourne and received a bachelor’s degree from Swinburne University of Technology. For eight years, she worked for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s largest bank.

Frankcom’s social media channels highlighted visits to help those in need in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Romania and Haiti.

World Central Kitchen colleague Dora Weekley, who met Frankcom during the response to Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas in 2019, described Frankcom as “larger than life.”

She remembers when Frankcom was invited to walk the Hollywood red carpet for a documentary about World Central Kitchen that was nominated for an Emmy.

“I remember taking a picture of her in a dress, saying, ‘Keep this forever,'” Weekley told ABC. “Because usually I’m wearing sweats and running shoes, and I’m in Pakistan or Afghanistan or, you know, she could be anywhere, and never done hair or makeup.

“She worked every hour, she gave her all, and she believed in helping those less fortunate.”

A ship carrying humanitarian supplies organized by leader José Andres’ charity left Cyprus for Gaza on Tuesday.

Damian Sobol, Poland

Damian Soból, 36, was known as a cheerful, friendly and resourceful manager who quickly rose through the ranks at World Central Kitchen.

Originally from Przemyśl in southeastern Poland, where he studied hospitality, Soból has participated in humanitarian missions in Ukraine, Morocco, Turkey and, in the past six months, Gaza.

“He was a really amazing guy,” said Marta Wilczynska of the Free Place Foundation, which cooperates with World Central Kitchen. “We were very proud of him.”

Wilczynska met Soból on the Polish side of the border with Ukraine, a few days after the Russian invasion in February 2022. He spoke good English and was a translator. As a competent manager, he could organize work in any conditions, she said.

“Always smiling, always so helpful, he loved this job. I felt like I had a brother in him,” Wilczynska said.

Free Place Foundation president Mikolaj Rykowski said Soból was “the man for every task – he could overcome any difficulty”.

On Facebook, Przemyśl Mayor Wojciech Bakun said of Soból’s death that there were “no words to describe how people who knew this fantastic young man feel now.”

John Champan, James Kirby and James Henderson, United Kingdom

The three British victims were military veterans providing security for the World Central Kitchen aid mission.

British media reported that Chapman, 57, and Kirby, 47, were former Royal Marines, while Henderson, 33, known as Jim, was a British army veteran.

NBC Chicago

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