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8 Apr, 2024 16:34

Father of aid worker slain by IDF in Gaza urges US to suspend aid to Israel

Seven foreign nationals were killed in a series of drone strikes on a humanitarian convoy carrying food in the Palestinian enclave
Father of aid worker slain by IDF in Gaza urges US to suspend aid to Israel

The US must press Israel into changing its approach to its campaign in Gaza against the Palestinian militant group Hamas, John Flickinger, the father of one of the humanitarian workers slain in a recent Israeli drone strike has said.

The grieving father detailed to AP his phone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who called him on Saturday to offer his condolences on the death of his son Jacob.

The 33-year-old humanitarian worker, a dual US-Canadian citizen, was killed on April 1 alongside six other foreign aid workers when their convoy with relief group World Central Kitchen (WCK) was subjected to repeated drone strikes by Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

“If the United States threatened to suspend aid to Israel, maybe my son would be alive today,” John Flickinger told the news agency on Sunday. “I’m hopeful that this is the last straw, that the United States will suspend aid and will take meaningful action to leverage change in the way Israel is conducting this war,” he added.

The humanitarian convoy attack caused international uproar, forcing Israel to admit the officers behind it had grossly violated rules of engagement. The deadly strike was described by Israeli officials as a “mistake,” with two IDF personnel dismissed and three others receiving a reprimand. They had mishandled critical intelligence and failed to properly identify the target before conducting the strike, military authorities claimed.

“It’s a tragedy,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters. “It’s a serious event that we are responsible for, and it shouldn’t have happened. And we will make sure that it won’t happen again.”

More than 200 humanitarian workers and dozens of journalists have lost their lives amid the ongoing Israeli operation in Gaza, prompted by last October’s deadly raid on southern Israel staged by Hamas. That attack left some 1,200 people in Israel dead, while more than 200 were taken hostage.

More than 33,000 Palestinians have since been killed during Israel’s operations in Gaza, according to local health authorities. The enclave was subjected to heavy artillery shelling and aerial bombardment that has caused widespread destruction.