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Father of killed aid worker confronts Blinken saying son might be alive if US threatened to suspend aid to Israel

Father of killed aid worker confronts Blinken saying son might be alive if US threatened to suspend aid to Israel

The father of the US-Canadian aid worker in Gaza who was killed in drone strikes confronted the United States secretary of state, telling him over the phone that his son might be alive today if the US threatened to suspend aid to Israel.

The State Department’s Anthony Blinken called John Flickinger with condolences after his son, Jacob Flickinger, died at just 33 years old while helping to deliver food to those who need it most in Gaza.

He was one of seven humanitarian aid workers with World Central Kitchen killed last week when the convoy they were travelling in was hit by an Israeli airstrike.

Jacob Flickinger had been volunteering in Gaza since early March to help distribute food to Palestinians.

Mr Flickinger told the Secretary of State that the killings by Israel must end and that the United States should use its power and leverage to make that happen, according to The Associated Press.

“If the United States threatened to suspend aid to Israel, maybe my son would be alive today,” Mr Flickinger told the news agency while describing the 30-minute conversation he had over the phone with Mr Blinken on Saturday.

While Mr Blinken did not pledge any new policy actions during their talk, he did say that the Biden administration has sent a strong message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if the Israeli Defense Forces do not show more care for Gaza civilians, then the relationship between Israel and the United States may change, the outlet said.

Jacob Flickinger had been working in Gaza since early March before he was killed (World Central Kitchen/ Wire)

President Joe Biden told Mr Netanyahu on Thursday in a phone call that future US policy towards Israel will be determined by whether its government takes action to protect aid workers and civilians in Gaza.

“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,” Mr Flickinger told the outlet.

Israeli officials admitted to making a “grave mistake” after its forces killed the aid workers in a drone strike.

They blamed poor communication and attention to detail and have sacked two of its officers.

They concluded after a four-day investigation that a charity worker carrying a bag was mistaken for a man holding a gun.

Mr Flickinger, however, is not so convinced, telling the Associated Press that, in his view, the strike “was a deliberate attempt to intimidate aid workers and to stop the flow of humanitarian aid”.

The World Central Kitchen CEO Erin Gore has also released a statement slamming the attack on the aid workers, saying that it is an “attack on humanitarian organisations showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war”.

Aside from his call with Mr Blinken, the aid worker’s father said that the Secretary of State also spoke with his son’s partner, Sandy Leclerc, who is now left to care for their one-year-old son.

The Canadian government has also reached out to the family and offered financial support to Ms Leclerc to move her and her son back to Quebec province to be closer to family, Mr Flickinger said.

Jacob and his partner had started a new life in Costa Rica, raising their newborn before he started working in Gaza.

Mr Flickinger described his son to the Associated Press as “larger than life” and a “loving son, a devoted dad” who “died doing what he loved, which was serving and helping others”.

The aid worker’s father added that his son’s remains are in Cairo, Egypt, pending the issuance of a death certificate by Palestinian authorities.

After that happens, the family has made arrangements for them to be transported to Quebec.

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