On May 11, Israeli forces have shot and killed Al Jazeera’s journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Abu Akleh was reportedly hit in the head by a live while covering Israeli raids in the city of Jenin. The Palestinian-American journalist was rushed to a hospital in Jenin in critical condition, where she was pronounced dead shortly.
Another Al Jazeera journalist, Ali Samoudi, was also wounded with a bullet in the back while covering the raids in Jenin with Abu Akleh. The journalist is currently in a stable condition.
Both Abu Akleh and Samoudi were wearing distinctive blue press vests and helmets. The journalists were shot while standing with other journalists.
Samoudi and other journalists at the scene told Al Jazeera that no Palestinian fighters were present nearby when the incident took place.
“We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming,” said Samoudi. “The first bullet hit me and the second bullet hit Shireen … there was no Palestinian military resistance at all at the scene”.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shared a video of a Palestinian gunman opening fire at Israeli troops in Jenin to shift the blame for the incident. However, B’Tselem, an Israeli organization that document human rights violations in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, confirmed that the footage were taken far away from the place where Abu Akleh and Samoudi came under fire.
Abu Akleh was one of Al Jazeera’s first field correspondents, joining the network in 1997. She became well-known as a reporter on the network’s Arabic-language channel, especially after covering the Second Intifada.
Al Jazeera described the killing of Abu Akleh as a “horrifying crime that breaches international norms” and was committed “in cold blood”. The network’s managing director Giles Trendle stated that the network was “shocked and saddened” by her death and called for a transparent investigation.
Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, stated that he considered Israeli forces “fully responsible” for Abu Akleh’s death. From his side, the US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, called for a “thorough investigation” into the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid said that Israel is ready to launch a joint investigation into the death of Abu Akleh with Palestinian authorities in the West Bank. However, he stressed that Israeli forces will continue to “operate wherever necessary”.
The killing of Abu came following a series of Israeli operations and security incidents that claimed the lives of 28 Palestinians. The Israeli crackdown on Palestinians intensified after a wave of attacks that left 19 people dead in Israel and the West Bank.