Jacob Flickinger Identified as 33-Year-Old American Aid Worker Killed in Israeli Airstrike in Gaza While Distributing Food to Palestinians

The incident has triggered international outrage and intensified scrutiny on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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The American-Canadian aid worker killed by an Israeli airstrike, along with six of his World Central Kitchen colleagues, while delivering food in conflict-ridden Gaza, has been identified as 33-year-old Jacob Flickinger. The tragic incident occurred on Monday night when their convoy of three cars was struck by hellfire missiles.

Flickinger, who held dual citizenship in the US and Canada, served as a relief team member for the Washington, D.C.-based hunger relief charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, known as World Central Kitchen. He and his colleagues had just delivered over 100 tons of food to northern Gaza where Palestinians are facing starvation when they were struck by Israeli missiles

Killed While Doing Charity

Jacob Flickinger
Jacob Flickinger X

Flickinger tragically lost his life alongside Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, 43, from Australia; Damian Sobol, 35, from Poland; and Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, from Palestine. Frankcom was the team lead, while Flickinger and the others were relief team members.

Three 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 were former British servicemen.

The seven aid workers who lost their lives in the Israeli airstrike on Gaza X

"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."

The nonprofit, one of the few humanitarian aid organizations courageous enough to operate in the perilous conditions of Gaza, temporarily halted its operations in the Palestinian territory following the deaths, increasing the risk of famine for the local population.

Attack Condemned by International Community

The CEO described the airstrike as "a targeted attack" by the IDF and noted that the convoy was traveling in vans marked with the World Central Kitchen logo in a deconflicted zone, in coordination with the IDF.

The passports of the deceased employees of World Central Kitchen X

Gore said she was "heartbroken and appalled" and issued a scathing statement immediately upon learning of the deaths of the team members, denouncing the airstrike as "unforgivable."

"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.

probe into netanyahu
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

The incident has triggered international outrage and intensified scrutiny on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding his handling of the response to the October 7 terror attacks. These attacks claimed the lives of 1,200 Israelis and led to over 30,000 Gazans perishing in retaliatory strikes.

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."

As of the UN's report, more than 180 aid workers have lost their lives in the Israel-Hamas conflict, marking it as one of the deadliest conflicts for humanitarian volunteers and workers.

This article was first published on April 3, 2024