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Trudeau condemns Netanyahu’s comments on strike that killed Canadian, 6 other aid workers | CBC News



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed back Thursday on comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about an Israeli military airstrike that killed seven aid workers in Gaza, including one Canadian.

In a video statement released earlier this week, Netanyahu expressed regret over the incident and called it a “tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people in the Gaza Strip.” He also said “this happens in wartime” and that Israel was looking into the situation.

“No, it doesn’t just happen,” Trudeau said Thursday during an event in Winnipeg. “And it shouldn’t just happen when you have aid workers for an extraordinary organization like World Central Kitchen risking their lives every day in an incredibly dangerous place to deliver food to people who are experiencing a horrific humanitarian catastrophe.”

Jacob Flickinger, a 33-year-old Canadian veteran, was killed by the Israeli airstrike, along with six other aid workers. The incident has triggered widespread international condemnation. U.S. President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the incident.

WATCH | Trudeau discusses Israeli airstrike that killed Canadian 

Trudeau on Israeli PM’s comments: Airstrikes on aid workers don’t ‘just happen’

Asked whether he would support an Israeli-led investigation into the IDF strike that killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has a problem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments on the strike. Netanyahu acknowledged Israel’s responsibility in a video statement, calling it a ‘tragic case of our forces unintentionally hitting innocent people’ and adding that ‘it happens in war.’

In a letter released earlier this week, World Central Kitchen’s chief José Andrés called on Israelis to push their government to change the way it’s conducting its war against Hamas. He said his group had coordinated its aid deliveries with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The IDF said the strike was a “grave mistake.”

Seven people are pictured in a collage.
World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization delivering food in Gaza, identified seven aid workers who were killed by Israeli airstrikes on April 1, 2024. Clockwise from top left: Damian Soból, Jacob Flickinger, Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, James Kirby, James (Jim) Henderson, John Chapman and Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha. (Instagram/World Central Kitchen, Facebook/Free Place Foundation)

“I want to be very clear — the strike was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers. It was a mistake that followed a misidentification, at night, during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened,” Herzi Halevi, the IDF chief of staff, said Wednesday.

More than 196 humanitarian workers, many of them Palestinians working for UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), have been killed since the war’s start in October, according to Aid Worker Security Database, a U.S.-funded group recording major incidents of violence against aid personnel.

Months of war have followed an attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 that killed over 1,100 people in Israel, with about 250 more taken hostage. Since then, 32,975 people have been killed in Gaza, the Hamas-run health ministry there said this week.

Trudeau has demanded an investigation of the airstrike. World Central Kitchen has asked for a third party investigation — one not run by Israel itself.

Trudeau did not say Thursday whether he would support a third-party investigation.

WATCH | Parents of Canadian killed in Gaza talk about airstrike  

Parents of Canadian killed in Gaza say Israel is targeting aid workers

The 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.

“We need a fully open, transparent, independent and rapid investigation into what happened,” he said.

“The reality is we need much more humanitarian support to flow into Gaza, much more protection of civilians, of innocents and of aid workers.

“That’s why we need a humanitarian ceasefire. We need for Hamas to lay down its arms. We need for the hostages to be released, and we need a ceasefire to allow this humanitarian catastrophe to end as quickly as possible.”

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