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‘Very Best of Humanity’: The Seven Aid Workers Killed in Israeli Airstrike

Families and others pay tribute to the World Central Kitchen staff hit leaving Gaza food warehouse

The killed aid workers (top row left to right:) James Henderson, James Kirby and John Chapman; (bottom row left to right): Damian Sobol, Lalzawmi Zomi Frankcom, Jacob Flickinger and Saif Issam Abu Taha ,Composite: World Central Kitchen/Getty Images

The World Central Kitchen has described the seven aid workers who were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza as the “very best of humanity”. Three British nationals, an Australian, a Polish national, an American-Canadian dual citizen and a Palestinian were killed when their convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse on Monday.

Here is what is known about the victims:

James Kirby

James Kirby

James Kirby Photograph: World Central Kitchen/AFP/Getty Images

James Kirby, 47, who was born in Bristol, was a military veteran working in the charity’s security team.

He worked for the security firm Solace Global, based in Poole, Dorset, and was a former sniper marksman and rifleman, according to his LinkedIn profile. Kirby described himself as someone who maintained “a calm demeanour under extreme pressure, including life-threatening situations”.

In a statement, his family said he was a “genuine gentleman”, adding: “James understood the dangers of venturing into Gaza, drawing from his experiences in the British armed forces, where he bravely served tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan. Despite the risks, his compassionate nature drove him to offer assistance to those in dire need.”

John Chapman

John Chapman

John Chapman Photograph: World Central Kitchen/PA

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John Chapman, 57, who was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was also working for Solace Global among the charity’s security team. He was reported to have been a former member of special forces.

In a statement released through the Foreign Office, his family described him as an “incredible father, husband, son and brother”.

They said he “died trying to help people and was subject to an inhumane act. He was loved by many and will for ever be a hero. He will be missed dearly,” they added.

James Henderson

James Henderson

James Henderson Photograph: World Central Kitchen/AFP/Getty Images

James Henderson, 33, who was born in Truro, Cornwall, worked for Solace Global, also as part of the relief team’s security detail.

According to his LinkedIn page he served for six years in the Royal Marines before working for private security firms.

He described himself as “a highly disciplined, courteous and proactive individual who is mobile, offers flexibility and is willing to take on any further training necessary to offer the best service possible” and said he “takes the health and safety of others very seriously”.

Saif Issam Abu Taha

Saif Issam Abu Taha

Saif Issam Abu Taha Photograph:

Saif Issam Abu Taha, 25, had worked for World Central Kitchen as a driver and translator since the beginning of the year, his relatives said.

His brothers described him as “dedicated young man” eager to help fellow Palestinians. They also said he was a successful businessman who had dreamed of getting married.

He was buried in a ceremony attended by hundreds of people in his home town of Rafah on Tuesday.

Zomi Frankcom

Zomi Frankcom.

Zomi Frankcom. Photograph: /

Zomi Frankcom, 43, an Australian national, had worked for the World Central Kitchen for the past five years and had travelled to the US and Thailand.

In a statement, relatives described her as an “outstanding human being” who was “killed doing the work she loves delivering food to the people of Gaza”.

The Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, said: “She is someone who clearly was concerned about her fellow humanity.”

Damian Sobol

Damian Sobol

Damian Sobol Photograph:

Damian Sobol, 36, came from the south-eastern Polish city of Przemyśl, where he was studying hospitality.

He joined World Central Kitchen in 2022, and had been on aid missions in Ukraine, Morocco and Turkey. For the past six months he had worked in Gaza and had been documenting the charity’s missions on social media in the days before he was killed.

Wojciech Bakun, the mayor of Przemyśl, wrote on Facebook: “There are no words to describe the feelings of people who knew this amazing young man right now.”

Jacob Flickinger

Jacob Flickinger

Jacob Flickinger. Photograph: /

Jacob Flickinger, 33, a dual US-Canadian citizen, had reportedly been working in Gaza since the start of March after a previous stint volunteering for the NGO in Mexico, according to Agence France-Presse. He was the father of a one-year-old boy, the agency added.

The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said officials had spoken to the Israeli ambassador, Iddo Moed, to express “our dismay at the unacceptable deaths of a Canadian-American aid worker along with others … the world needs very clear answers as to how this happened”.

The Canadian foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, called for a full investigation and said in a post on X that strikes on humanitarian personnel were “absolutely unacceptable”.

Emine Sinmaz is a senior reporter at the Guardian. Twitter @Emine_Sinmaz