Jacob Flickinger: Remembering the US-Canadian Humanitarian Killed in Gaza During Israeli Strike

Jacob Flickinger: Remembering the US-Canadian Humanitarian Killed in Gaza During Israeli Strike

A dual US-Canadian citizen was among the seven World Central Kitchen aid workers killed in an IDF airstrike while trying to deliver much-needed food to people in Gaza.

Jacob Flickinger, 33, died alongside his colleagues Saifeddin Issam Ayab Abutaha of Palestine, Lalzawmi Frankcom of Australia, Damian Soból of Poland and UK citizens John Chapman, James Henderson and James Kirby, on Tuesday when the convoy they were riding in was struck.

WCK provides food for people living in disaster zones, including to those in Gaza amid Israel’s ongoing campaign.

The organisation called the aid workers “heroes” and “beautiful souls”, saying they were killed “as they were returning from a full day’s mission”.

(World Central Kitchen/WCK.org/PA Wire)

Here’s what we know about Flickinger:

Volunteer, partner and father

Flickinger was a father of a one-year-old baby boy, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help his family with funeral arrangements, as he was the “sole financial provider”. He also leaves behind his partner Sandy.

Flickinger had been volunteering in Gaza since early March, giving food to Palestinians, the page reads.

Before going to Gaza, Flickinger also went to Mexico with World Central Kitchen.

A tribute from Restaurantes en Acapulco on Facebook read: “What sad news our friend Jacob passed away who helped us in the port of Acapulco carrying food everywhere and with whom we lived for several days.

“RIP he told me on one occasion that he came to help and not to distract himself in other things. Hug up to heaven.” it said.

The group also posted a touching video of Flickinger smiling while handing out bottles of water to — and fist-bumping — locals in Acapulco, Mexico.

One photo of Flickinger, wearing a World Central Kitchen-emblazoned shirt, in Acapulco is dated November 2023.

A photo of Jacob Flickinger in Acapulco, Mexico

(Jesus Espinosa)

Flickinger’s father John Flickinger wrote a touching message on Facebook paying tribute to his son.

“He died doing what he loved and serving others through his work with the World Central Kitchen,” he said.

Several other friends also spoke of his love of helping others.

Ken Durham wrote on Facebook that he was “saddened by the loss of an old friend in Gaza”.

Meanwhile, Jeremy MacKenzie said Flickinger served in Quebec’s Royal 22nd Regiment. He added that Flickinger “loved to help other veterans rehabilitate injuries and volunteered his services to [personally] train them for rehabilitation and get them back in shape”.

Kened Sadiku, a spokesperson for the Canadian Department of National Defence told The Independent in a statement that retired Master Corporal Flickinger served with the Canadian Army from 7 April 2008 to 16 October 2019.

Jacob Flickinger helping people in Acapulco, Mexico get food

(Jesús Espinosa)

“He joined as a reserve infantry member with Le Regiment de la Chaudière. In 2010, he deployed to Afghanistan as a Rifleman. In 2012 he joined the regular force as Infantry with the Royal 22e Regiment in Quebec, QC,” the statement said. “We extend our sincere condolences to their family, friends, and former colleagues during this difficult time.”

The GoFundme had already raised more than C$8,900 by Wednesday morning.

Reactions to the strike on the aid workers

World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore released a statement slamming the attack on the aid workers 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.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, WCK founder and celebrity chef José Andrés wrote that the aid workers “risked everything for the most fundamentally human activity: to share our food with others”.

He called them “the best of humanity.”

President Joe Biden also said in a statement that he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the news.

“I am outraged and heartbroken by the deaths of seven humanitarian workers from World Central Kitchen, including one American, in Gaza yesterday,” he said.

Seven victims of the strike

(World Central Kitchen/PA)

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

White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby said at a Tuesday press conference that it is “clear” that the IDF “must do much more to improve deconfliction processes so that civilians and humanitarian aid workers are protected”.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly tweeted she was “horrified to hear reports of the IDF strike” and called for “full accountability for these killings”.

“Strikes on humanitarian personnel are absolutely unacceptable,” she added.

“Unfortunately over the last day there was a tragic incident of an unintended strike of our forces on innocent people in the Gaza Strip,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, promising that Israeli officials were thoroughly “checking” into the incident and that the country’s armed forces “will do everything for this not to happen again”.

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