Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-jacob-flickinger,-33,-is-named-as-american-food-charity-worker-killed-by-israeli-airstrike-in-gaza,-as-biden-finally-speaks-about-attack-to-say-he’s-‘outraged-and-heartbroken’Alert – Jacob Flickinger, 33, is named as American food charity worker killed by Israeli airstrike in Gaza, as Biden finally speaks about attack to say he’s ‘outraged and heartbroken’

An American nonprofit worker killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza has been named as 33-year-old Jacob Flickinger.

Flickinger was one of seven slain by an IDF strike as he and his colleagues from the World Central Kitchen worked to distribute aid to Palestinians. 

They were in a convoy of three cars Monday night when hellfire missiles struck their vehicles.

The incident has sparked international outrage and has heaped more pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his response to the October 7 terror attacks, which killed some 1,200 Israelis and resulted in more than 30,000 Gazans perishing in retaliatory strikes.

In a statement, World Central Kitchen named Flickinger as one of seven  ‘beautiful souls’ killed during the attack.

President Joe Biden also released a statement in the aftermath of the attack, saying:  ‘I am outraged and heartbroken by the deaths of seven humanitarian workers from World Central Kitchen, including one American, in Gaza yesterday. 

‘They were providing food to hungry civilians in the middle of a war. They were brave and selfless. Their deaths are a tragedy.’

Jacob Flickinger, 33, has been named as the American-Canadian citizen who was one of seven food charity workers killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza late Monday night

Jacob Flickinger, 33, has been named as the American-Canadian citizen who was one of seven food charity workers killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza late Monday night 

In a statement, WC Kitchen named Flickinger as one of seven 'beautiful souls' killed during the attack

In a statement, WC Kitchen named Flickinger as one of seven ‘beautiful souls’ killed during the attack

The team from the charity and their Palestinian driver were killed in central Gaza’s Deir al-Balah when their vehicle (pictured) was struck on Monday, local media reported, after the group helped deliver food and other supplies to the region

‘Israel has pledged to conduct a thorough investigation into why the aid workers’ vehicles were hit by airstrikes. That investigation must be swift, it must bring accountability, and its findings must be made public,’ Biden’s statement continued. 

‘Even more tragically, this is not a stand-alone incident. This conflict has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been killed. This is a major reason why distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult – because Israel has not done enough to protect aid workers trying to deliver desperately needed help to civilians. 

‘Incidents like yesterday’s simply should not happen. Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians. The United States has repeatedly urged Israel to deconflict their military operations against Hamas with humanitarian operations, in order to avoid civilian casualties.

‘The United States will continue to do all we can to deliver humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, through all available means. I will continue to press Israel to do more to facilitate that aid. And we are pushing hard for an immediate ceasefire as part of a hostage deal. I have a team in Cairo working on this right now.

‘Earlier today, I spoke with my friend Chef José Andrés, the founder of World Central Kitchen, to convey my deepest condolences for the deaths of these courageous aid workers and to express my continued support for his and his team’s relentless and heroic efforts to get food to hungry people around the globe.

‘May God bless the humanitarian workers killed yesterday and comfort their families and loved ones in their grief.’

A destroyed car displaying the charity’s logo is seen from above on Tuesday. The convoy was targeted by R9X Hellfire missiles

World Central Kitchen officials identified the seven victims of the attack and blasted Israel for hitting the aid group. 

‘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,’ Erin Gore, CEO, said.

‘We are reeling from our loss. The world’s loss,’ he added. 

‘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.

‘I am heartbroken and appalled that we—World Central Kitchen and the world—lost beautiful lives today because of a targeted attack by the IDF. 

‘The love they had for feeding people, the determination they embodied to show that humanity rises above all, and the impact they made in countless lives will forever be remembered and cherished.’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the IDF had ‘unintentionally [hit] innocent people in the Gaza Strip… it happens in war’.

The WCK said its team had been travelling in a ‘deconflicted’ area at the time. Its vehicles’ roofs were marked with WCK branding.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for an urgent investigation.

‘Humanitarian workers are heroes,’ Blinken said. ‘They show the best of what humanity has to offer. I extend my deepest condolences to those who lost their lives in the strike in Gaza. 

‘There must be a swift, thorough, and impartial investigation into this incident.

Flickinger is a dual citizen of the US and Canada who was working as part of the non-profit’s relief team.

He was killed alongside workers from , Poland and the United Kingdom.

Three former British servicemen were among the victims. Former Royal Marines James Henderson and John Chapman and an ex-Army soldier James Kirby died in the drone strike.

World Central Kitchen workers gather around the bodies of their colleagues after they were transferred to Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah

World Central Kitchen workers gather around the bodies of their colleagues after they were transferred to Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah

WCK staff were seen mourning their dead colleagues as their bodies were loaded into an ambulance

WCK staff were seen mourning their dead colleagues as their bodies were loaded into an ambulance

Lalzawmi

Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom (pictured), 44, from Melbourne , was killed along with three other international aid workers and a Palestinian driver, in Central Gaza, while working with the World Central Kitchen charity on Monday

The Polish man has also been named by authorities as Damian Soból (pictured), who worked for the charity bringing aid into Gaza

The Polish man has also been named by authorities as Damian Soból (pictured), who worked for the charity bringing aid into Gaza 

They were killed along side Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, Lalzawmi Frankcom, 43, from , and Damian Sobol, 35, from Poland. 

The charity workers were ‘leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route’ at the time of the strike.

They had just crossed in from the north after helping deliver aid that had arrived hours earlier on a ship from Cyprus, sources have claimed, and were killed on the Al Rashid Road, which runs parallel to the Mediterranean Sea. 

Local Nael Eliyan, living in a tent yards away, sprinted to the wreckage shortly after the precision R9X Hellfire missile slammed into the vehicle.

‘Their injuries were serious and they died quickly,’ he said.

Harrowing pictures showed how a huge hole had been blown in the roof of one car, with its interior torn to shreds. Another vehicle was missing most of its rear end.

Netanyahu acknowledged that Israeli forces were to blame, saying the aid workers had been killed by an ‘[unintentional] strike’. He said officials were ‘checking thoroughly’ what had happened.

But aid agencies accused Israel of deliberately targeting their staff. Netanyahu was under intense pressure to explain why the attack happened – and to guarantee that there will be no further strikes against aid workers.

James Henderson, 33, was travelling in a clearly marked car operated by World Central Kitchen, a charity providing meals to Palestinians in the war torn enclave, when the convoy was hit with three missiles fired by an IDF drone

John Chapman (pictured) and James Henderson were travelling in a clearly marked car operated by World Central Kitchen (WCK), a charity providing meals to Palestinians in the war-torn enclave, when the convoy was hit with three missiles fired by an IDF drone

A British military veteran named last night by the BBC as James Kirby was also killed

A British military veteran named last night by the BBC as James Kirby was also killed

The IDF responded to the airstrike deaths, with spokesperson Daniel Hagari saying: ‘Last night, an incident took place in Gaza that resulted in the tragic death of World Central Kitchen employees as they fulfilled their vital mission of bringing food to people in need. 

‘As a professional military committed to international law, we are committed to examining our operations thoroughly and transparently. I just spoke to WCK Founder, Chef Jose Anders, and expressed the deepest condolences of the Israel Defense Forces to the families and the entire World Central Kitchen family. 

‘We also express sincere sorrow to our allied nations who have been doing and continue to do so much to assist those in need. We have been reviewing the incident at the highest levels to understand the circumstances of what happened and how it happened. 

‘We will be opening a probe to examine this serious incident further.’

Yesterday, ships carrying 240 tons of food aid were reported to have turned back from Gaza in the wake of the bombing, adding to the humanitarian crisis in the narrow strip of land.

More than 180 aid workers have been killed in the war, according to the UN.

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