Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp when she was shot in the face.
Published On 11 May 2022
5 minutes ago
- Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has been shot and killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.
- The 51-year-old was covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp when she was shot in the face by a single bullet, despite wearing a press vest.
- Another Palestinian journalist, Ali al-Samoudi, was wounded in the back but is in stable condition.
- Al Jazeera, in a statement, said Abu Akleh was “assassinated in cold blood” and called on the international community to hold Israeli forces responsible.
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Here are the latest updates:
Israeli police raid Abu Akleh’s home in Jerusalem
Israeli forces have raided Abu Akleh’s home in occupied East Jerusalem, and have confiscated Palestinian flags and prevented the playing of nationalistic songs.
Videos seen by Al Jazeera show friends and family members shouting at Israeli police to leave the house.
A journalist at the scene said the mourners managed to push the forces outside of the house, but remain stationed in the area.
Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau chief: Abu Akleh was targeted by ‘direct shot’
Walid al-Omari, the Al Jazeera bureau chief in Palestine, said it clear the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was shot by an Israeli sniper.
“The eyewitnesses told us the bullet was shot from where the Israeli occupation soldiers were located,” he said.
“It is a big shock because the journalists were in an open area that was away from [Israeli] military confrontation with Palestinian resistance,” he said.
PA rejects Israeli participation in investigating Abu Akleh’s death
The spokesman of the Palestinian Authority, Ibrahim Milhim, said his government rejects any role for Israel in an investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing.
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“Let me ask, when does the criminal have the right to take part in the investigation against his victim?” Milhim told Al Jazeera.
“We reject and refuse the participation of any Israelis in this kind of investigation. They have to be taken to the International Court. We call on the ICJ to open an investigation into the killing of Shireen and other crimes committed against the Palestinians.”
Milhim also urged the international community to stop the double standards when it comes to the Palestinian cause and the Israeli crimes.
World reacts to killing of AJ journalist by Israeli forces
The killing of Abu Akleh has sparked an outpouring of condolences and condemnation, as well as calls for a thorough investigation to hold those responsible to account.
Read more here.
Shireen Abu Akleh: A trailblazer who gave voice to Palestinians
Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday, was a veteran television correspondent who became a household name across the Arab world for her bold coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Friends and colleagues described Abu Akleh as a brave and kind reporter with an “infectious laugh” who gave voice to the struggles of Palestinians over a career spanning nearly three decades.
Read more here.
International Federation of Journalists to submit Abu Akleh’s case to ICC
Anthony Bellanger, the secretary of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said Abu Akleh’s killing is a “deliberate systematic targeting of a journalist”.
“Yet again journalists, wearing press vests, clearly identified were targeted by Israeli snipers,” he said in a statement. “We will seek to add this case to the ICC complaint submitted by the IFJ, detailing such systematic targeting.”
Palestine Journalists Syndicate slams ‘clear assassination’ of Abu Akleh
The Palestine Journalists Syndicate has decried Abu Akleh’s death as “a clear assassination perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army”.
The syndicate also held the Israeli occupation “fully responsible for this heinous crime against press freedom”, particularly after World Press Freedom Day, which is marked on May 8.
The syndicate stressed that the crime of the occupation that targeted Abu Akleh is” a deliberate and premeditated act and a true assassination operation”.
It called on a clear move to protect fellow journalists from the “continued incitement and killing practiced by the Israeli occupation and all components of the occupation”.
EU urges ‘swift and independent’ probe over Abu Akleh’s killing
The EU delegation to Palestinians has expressed “shock” over the killing of Abu Akleh, calling for “a swift and independent investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice”.
“Imperative to ensure the safety and protection of journalists covering conflicts,” the statement added.
Eyewitness: Israeli forces were shooting to kill
Eyewitness and fellow journalist Shatha Hanaysha says journalists in the scene were pinned down by snipers when Abu Akleh was shot.
She told Al Jazeera: “We stood together in a collective way as journalists, then we started moving. We were shocked by the live ammunition fired at us, we reached an area that did not allow us to withdraw.”
“We were just facing the snipers. If they were not really willing to kill some of us, they could have started shooting before our arrival in this narrow area. I see this as a clear assassination of journalists,” she said.
“The one that killed Shireen was intended to kill her because he shot the bullet at an area of her body that was not protected,” Hanaysha also said.
Hamas: Killing of Abu Akleh is Israel’s latest crime
Hamas, the ruler of the Gaza Strip, has said that the killing of Abu Akleh by the Israeli occupation forces is the latest crime committed by them.
The killing “is a new crime added to a series of crimes” committed by Israel, especially against journalism in Palestine.
Palestinian MP: Abu Akleh was our voice
Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar has said that Abu Akleh was the voice of Palestinians and killed by “the monstrosity of Israeli colonialism and occupation”.
“Shireen was always my voice from the prison cells,” she said, adding that a month into her last detention by Israel, Shireen was the first person she saw at her court hearings.
“Shireen was our voice. It is unbelievable. It is a crime, it is all clear – intentional and direct targeting. She was targeted. It’s clear.”
Israel PM says ‘likely’ Palestinian gunfire killed Abu Akleh
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said it is “likely” that Palestinian gunfire killed the Al Jazeera reporter.
“According to the information we’ve gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians – who were indiscriminately firing at the time – were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist,” Bennett said in a statement.
UN envoy urges accountability for killing of Abu Akleh
The UN Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, has condemned the killing of Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank.
“I strongly condemn the killing of Al Jazeera’s reporter, Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot with live fire this morning while covering an Israeli security forces’ operation in Jenin, in occupied West Bank,” Wennesland tweeted.
“I call for an immediate and thorough investigation and for those responsible to be held accountable. Media workers should never be targeted.”
US ambassador to Israel calls for investigation
Tom Nides, the United States envoy to Israel, has called for a probe into the killing of Abu Akleh, who holds US citizenship.
“Very said to learn of the death of American and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh,” he tweeted. “I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin.”
HRW: Abu Akleh death not a ‘one-off event’
Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine Director for Human Rights Watch, said Abu Akleh’s death by Israeli forces is not unusual.
“We know that Israeli forces systematically have used excessive force,” he told Al Jazeera.
“This is an event that needs to be understood in the context of this systemic practice and the killings of many other Palestinian journalists.”
Shakir went on to describe Israeli investigations as a “white washed mechanism”.
“That is the assessment that’s been reached by human rights organisations including Israeli’s premier human rights organisation B’Tselem,” he said. “When news of crimes is reported, Israeli forces regularly say they’ll investigate. The reality is there is no accountability for those sorts of abuses when it comes to actions by the Israeli authorities.”
Palestinian fighters were not at the scene, journalist says
Ali al-Samoudi, the Al Jazeera journalist who was also shot by Israeli forces next to Abu Akleh but is now in stable condition, said there was no presence of Palestinian armed fighters at the scene.
“We were going to film the Israeli army raid, and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming,” he said.
“The first bullet hit me and the second bullet hit Shireen. They killed her in cold blood because they are killers and they specialize in killing only the Palestinian people.
“There was no Palestinian military resistance at all at the scene,” he added.
Israeli army denies targeting journalists, offers joint investigation
The Israeli army confirmed it had conducted an operation early Wednesday in Jenin refugee camp, but denied that it had deliberately targeted journalists.
“The (army) of course does not aim at journalists,” a military official said.
The army said there was an exchange of fire between suspects and security forces and that it was “investigating the event and looking into the possibility that journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen.”
Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid said Israel has offered a joint investigation with the Palestinians.
Shireen Abu Akleh was ‘professional and persevering’
Al Jazeera reporters have offered their condolences to Abu Akleh’s family and mourned her loss.
“Shireen, for every Palestinian journalist and for every Arab journalist, is a model we lost today,” Al Jazeera journalist Tamer Mishal said. “The tragic pictures that we saw on social media, shot in the head, show that it came from an Israeli sniper who fired a bullet directly at her.”
“Till the very last second, Shireen Abu Akleh was professional and persevering,” he added.
The last message Abu Akleh sent to Al Jazeera was an email at 6:13am in which she wrote: “Occupation forces storm Jenin and besiege a house in the Jabriyat neighbourhood. On the way there, I will bring you news as soon as the picture becomes clear.”
Journalist recounts moment Abu Akleh was targeted by Israeli forces
Shatha Hanaysha, a reporter who was traveling in the same vehicle as Abu Akleh, told Al Jazeera about the Israeli army was adamant on shooting to kill”.
“We were all wearing vests and helmets,” Hanaysha said. “We were four journalists in an exposed area. There were no confrontations or shots being fired by Palestinian fighters.”
The Israeli army was stationed in front of them Hanaysha said, and behind them was a wall.
“The occupation army did not stop firing even after she collapsed,” she said. “I couldn’t even extend my arm to pull her because of the shots.”
Palestinian Authority holds Israel responsible for killing
The Palestinian Authority presidency has denounced Abu Akleh’s killing as a “crime of execution”.
“The presidency holds the Israeli government fully responsible for this heinous crime,” it said in a statement.
The statement said Abu Akleh’s killing “is part of the occupation’s policy of targeting journalists to obscure the truth and commit crimes silently”.
Israel does ‘not take investigations seriously’: rights lawyer
A Palestinian human rights lawyer said Israeli authorities do not take investigations seriously, and there is little chance of holding Israel accountable for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.
“Every time that there are complaints about specific incidents about alleged war crimes, crimes against humanities or violations against international law happening in the occupied territory, the Israeli army doesn’t take the investigation seriously,” Munir Nuseibah, who is also a professor of international law at al-Quds University, said.
“There is total impunity in Israel, [and] we do not expect Israel to hold those responsible accountable.”
Nesseba said that what is needed is an international intervention”.
“ICC has jurisdiction in Palestine and is responsible for investigating war crimes in Palestine,” he said. “We expect them to act in this way.”
Al Jazeera condemns ‘blatant murder’
In a statement, Al Jazeera Media Network condemned the “blatant murder” that violates “international laws and norms”, and called Abu Akleh’s death as a “heinous crime, through which it is intended to prevent the media from fulfilling its message”.
“We hold the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of the late colleague Shireen,” the statement said.
Al Jazeera Media Network called on the international community hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their “intentional targeting and killing” of Abu Akleh.
Qatari official calls for end of ‘state sponsored Israeli terrorism’
Qatar’s deputy foreign minister condemned the killing of the Al Jazeera reporter by “Israeli occupation” in the West Bank.
In a Twitter post, she called for an end to “state sponsored Israeli terrorism”.
Al Jazeera ‘shocked and saddened’ by killing
Giles Trendle, Al Jazeera’s managing director, said that the network was “shocked and saddened” by the killing of Abu Akleh.
Trendle reminded that a building housing the offices of Al Jazeera as well as other media organisations, including The Associated Press news agency, was bombed less than a year ago during Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip.
“We have had a history throughout the world but particularly in this region, where we have had tragedies,” he said, calling for a transparent investigation of the killing of Abu Akleh.
“As journalists, we carry on. Our mission is to carry on. We will not be silenced despite attempts to silence us,” Trendle also said.
“Our mission is always to carry on to inform the world what is happening. And that is more important ever.”
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIE