Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead in West Bank

Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military raid in the city of Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank on Wednesday morning.

What to watch: Tom Nides, the US ambassador to Israel, confirmed that Shireen Abu Akleh was a Palestinian American citizen and called for “a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death”, as Palestinian and Israeli officials gave conflicting accounts of what happened to the veteran journalist.

  • The Palestinian Health Ministry said she was killed by Israeli fire, as did Al Jazeera.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that according to Israeli information, “it seems likely that armed Palestinians – who were firing indiscriminately at the time – were responsible”.

Drive the news: Israeli military forces have entered Jenin as part of an operation to arrest Palestinians suspected of planning attacks against Israelis, the Israeli army has announced.

  • According to the Israeli army, during the incursion, Palestinian militants fired at Israeli forces and used explosive devices.
  • Palestinian officials said Abu Akleh, 51, and another Palestinian journalist, Ali Samudi, who works for al-Quds newspaper, were caught in the crossfire and shot dead by Israeli soldiers.
  • They were both wearing bulletproof vests with the word “Press” on them.
  • Bennett said no Israeli soldiers were injured in the clashes

The big picture: Abu Akleh had worked for the Arabic channel Al Jazeera since 1997 covering the West Bank.

  • She was a well-respected and well-known journalist in the Arab world and beyond.
  • Al Jazeera said in a statement that the Israeli army “murdered Abu Akleh in cold blood”, and called on the international community to condemn his murder and hold Israel accountable.
  • “We are committed to taking legal action against those responsible and bringing them to justice,” the outlet said.

What they say : Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has joined the Islamist Raam party, an Arab-Israeli offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, in condemning the murder of Abu Akleh. He said Israel was responsible “for a crime against a Palestinian journalist who was trying to tell the truth”.

  • The Raam party called for an international investigation into his death, as did Hamas, which called the murder “another Israeli crime”.
  • Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs, said: “The truth is being murdered by the bullets of the occupation. A sad day in Palestine.”

Meanwhile, Bennett said the Israeli government had called on Palestinian officials to conduct a joint pathology analysis and investigation into Abu Akleh’s death, but had so far refused the offer.

  • Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement also calling for a joint investigation: “Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth.”
  • Israeli army spokesman Gen. Ran Kokhav told Army Radio that Palestinian officials took Abu Akleh’s body and refused to conduct a joint pathology investigation into his death.
  • Israeli military officials said in a briefing with reporters earlier that Abu Akleh’s death was “a very tragic incident” and claimed she was likely killed by ” [gun]shots by Palestinian militants”.
  • “We will seriously look into this incident,” an Israeli military official said.

To note: Reports of his death came shortly before a scheduled press conference by Raam party leader Mansour Abbas, who was to announce that his party would join the coalition.

  • Shortly before the press conference was about to take place, Abbas announced that it was cancelled.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with new details.


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