Family angry over Canadian aid worker’s death in Gaza, says he was ‘hunted down and killed’

Click to play video: 'Quebec family mourns death of son in Gaza and condemns Israeli airstrike'
Quebec family mourns death of son in Gaza and condemns Israeli airstrike
WATCH: One of the aid workers killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Monday was from Quebec. Jacob Flickinger was a veteran of the Canadian Armed forces and also had American citizenship. His family is speaking out about the attack while mourning his death. Global's Felicia Parrillo reports – Apr 4, 2024

John Flickinger and Sylvie Labrecque last spoke to their beloved son, Jacob, on Easter Sunday, when they told him how much they were looking forward to his return.

The very next day the 33-year-old died in Gaza while participating in a humanitarian aid mission.

“He was doing it in order to help others,” Labrecque said. “He was very caring and loving and devoted, and it’s just sad to see that he went that way.”

Flickinger was one of the seven aid workers killed on Monday in Gaza in a series of Israeli airstrikes while trying to deliver food.

American-based World Central Kitchen said it had co-ordinated its movements with the military, and the vehicles were clearly marked with the organization’s logo.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called their deaths inadvertent — something that “happens in war,” he said.

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Flickinger’s parents aren’t convinced.

“They were chased down, hunted down and killed,” John Flickinger said. “So draw your own conclusions, but the facts and the evidence indicate that this was a targeted hit, meant to intimidate aid workers.”

Click to play video: 'Remembering the 7 World Central Kitchen workers killed by Israel in Gaza'
Remembering the 7 World Central Kitchen workers killed by Israel in Gaza

Canada is also demanding more of an explanation. So are Poland, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.

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“The world needs very clear answers as to how this happened,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

Born in St-Georges, Que., to an American father and a Canadian mother, Flickinger served for 11 years in the Canadian military, including a tour in Afghanistan.

Last fall, he decided to join the World Central Kitchen to help the non-profit on the security and logistics front.

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His first aid mission was last November in Mexico, and in early March, he travelled to Gaza.

His partner, Sandy Leclerc, who lives at their home in Costa Rica with their 18-month-old son, Jasper, says she was worried about the mission, but trusted he would be safe.

“We will always remember him every day,” Leclerc said, choking up. “Jasper will learn about his dad through his great friends, and through us. And I will be there to support and explain to him that he died as a hero and he was doing such a beautiful action to help people in famine and he should have never been killed like that.”

Flickinger’s loved ones hope sharing their son’s courageous story will help create some peace and shed light on the deadly chaos.

“We feel this conflict and all war is insanity, because the people who suffer is the mothers, fathers, the sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters, the children — the innocence,” John Flickinger said.

Flickinger’s family and friends have already raised more than $150,000 through a GoFundMe campaign — money they say will help Sandy and Jasper as they move back to Quebec and adapt to their new reality without Jacob.


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