American aid worker killed by Israeli airstrike in Gaza IDed as 33-year-old 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 in war-torn Gaza has been identified as 33-year-old Jacob Flickinger.

Flickinger, who had dual citizenship to the US and its northern neighbor, was a relief team member for the DC-based hunger relief charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés.

He and his fellow aid workers had just delivered more than 100 tons of food to northern Gaza — where Palestinians are facing starvation due to Israel’s blockade — when Israeli missiles hit their three-car convoy.

World Central Kitchen worker Jacob Flinkinger, a 33-year-old dual citizen of the US and Canada, was killed by Israeli airstrikes.

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

Frankcom was the team lead while the others were relief team members.

Three World Central Kitchen security team members from the United Kingdom — identified as James (Jim) Henderson, 33; James Kirby, 47; and John Chapman, 57 — also died in the attack. All three are former British servicemen.

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

“Their smiles, laughter, and voices are forever embedded in our memories. And we have countless memories of them giving their best selves to the world,” Gore added. “We are reeling from our loss. The world’s loss.”

World Central Kitchen immediately paused its operations in Gaza following the deaths — leaving Gazans even further at risk of starvation amid the conflict. REUTERS

The nonprofit — one of the few humanitarian aid organizations to brave the dangerous conditions in Gaza — paused its operations in the Palestinian territory following the deaths, increasing the risk of famine.

The CEO called the airstrike “a targeted attack” by the Israel Defense Forces and noted that the caravan was traveling in vans clearly branded with the World Central Kitchen logo in a deconflicted zone in coordination with the IDF.

All three vehicles which had been a good distance apart from one another were hit in succession and left burnt out and mangled. At least one had the World Central Kitchen log on its roof — as to be visible from an air attack — which was left with a gaping hole in the aftermath.

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

“This is not only an attack against WCK, this is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” she said.

At least two of the vehicles were clearly marked with World Central Kitchen logos and all three vehicles were a far distance apartment when they were bombed by the IDF in rapid succession. REUTERS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted Israel’s military was responsible for killings in what he called an “unintentional” hit while adding that “it happens in war.”

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

“It happens in war, we check it to the end, we are in contact with the governments, and we will do everything so that this thing does not happen again,” he added.

He later issued a second statement stating that Israel “deeply regrets the tragic incident.”

“Our hearts go out to their families and to their home countries,” Netanyahu said in his second remarks. “The IDF is conducting a swift and transparent investigation and we will make our findings public.”

Still, world leaders from around the globe slammed Israel for the deadly strike, with some saying it further highlights the country’s alleged lack of regard for civilian lives in Gaza.

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

“Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help 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 of getting aid to Gazans is.

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

More than 180 aid workers have been killed in the Israel-Hamas war, according to the UN — making it one of the most deadly conflicts for humanitarian volunteers and workers.

“This is nearly three times the death toll recorded in any single conflict in a year,” UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories Jamie McGoldrick said.

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 make up two-thirds of the dead, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. The fighting began on Oct. 7 when Hamas invaded Israel and killed 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and took 250 hostages.

“The Israeli government needs to stop this indiscriminate killing. It needs to stop restricting humanitarian aid, stop killing civilians and aid workers, and stop using food as a weapon,” said Andrés, the World Central Kitchen founder.

With Post wires

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