Quebec aid worker killed in Gaza remembered as a ‘modern viking’

The song of a bagpipe blended with church bells as a funeral procession made up of Jacob Flickinger’s friends and family slowly moved through the streets of Saint-Georges, Que., under Friday’s overcast sky. Flickinger’s father led the group into the central Quebec town’s silver Catholic church, gripping the urn with his son’s ashes. Another loved one carried a picture of Flickinger with his 18-month-old son.Flickinger was 33 years old when he was killed by an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip on April 1, along with six other aid workers part of a World Central Kitchen convoy. The team was hit after dropping off humanitarian food aid.”Obviously he knew pretty much all the risks. He knew what he was getting into, that’s for sure,” said Mike Lizotte, a friend of Flickinger’s.The two met while they were training for a mission in Afghanistan in 2010. Lizotte described his friend as a “modern viking” who couldn’t stay in one place following his career with the Canadian Armed Forces. Jacob Flickinger leaves behind his 18-month-old son and wife, Sandy Leclerc. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/CBC)”He was a strong-minded person, disciplined,” he said. “He was probably the strongest person I ever met in my life.”Dozens of people came to pay their respects in Flickinger’s hometown including the leader of Quebec City’s Islamic Centre, Mohamed Labidi, and people from World Central Kitchen.”We’re very touched. Several members of our community are here, they came from Quebec City to attend this funeral because he acted courageously in a part of the world that’s in the middle of a war with bombs going off everywhere,” said Labidi. “We deplore this death.”The funeral proceedings were led by St. Georges parish priest Alain Pouliot.”[Jacob’s] path in life revealed that he wasn’t only motivated by a thirst for life but he had an inner fire that, because of what he’s lived and what he’s witnessed of human suffering, he decided to serve until the end,” said Pouliot. WATCH | Jacob Flickinger’s parents on their son’s death: Parents of Canadian killed in Gaza say Israel is targeting aid workersThe parents of Canadian aid worker Jacob Flickinger say their son’s death in an Israeli airstrike was a continued campaign targeting aid workers in Gaza. Flickinger had just finished delivering food with World Central Kitchen in a humanitarian corridor when he and six other foreign aid workers were killed.Pouliot has been to Israel seven times over his life. “The conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians — I was deeply touched with what’s going on and when I heard this was one of my parishioners, he was from Saint-Georges de Beauce, so I was deeply concerned,” he said. “So far I’ve taken time to meditate and to see what is the issue for me and for our people here in Beauce.” Over 35,000 people have been killed in the Israel-Gaza conflict since Oct. 7, 2023, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Of those, over 33,899 were Palestinian. In Quebec, Lizotte says he hopes to build a relationship with Flickinger’s son. “I want to teach everything Jacob taught me to his son, so this way he will know how powerful and strong his father was,” he said.

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