Veteran American- Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a correspondent for Qatar-based Al Jazeera Network, has been killed while covering Israeli forces’ raid on West Bank. Al Jazeera alleged that Israeli forces deliberately shot Shireen “in cold blood” while Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennet said that Palestinian gunmen “likely” shot the Al Jazeera journalist. The gunfire exchange between Israeli occupying forces and Palestinian rebels also wounded Al Jazeera producer Ali Samoudi. Reportedly, he is now stable in hospital.
Al Jazeera Journalist Takes a Bullet in the Head
Shireen Abu Akleh went to a refugee camp in Jenin on Wednesday morning to report on a raid, which the Israeli forces said was to capture “terrorist suspects”. They said that when they raided West Bank, “tens” of Palestinian gunmen opened fire at them and hurled explosive devices. Israeli soldiers also opened fire in response, where the Al Jazeera journalist was killed. The Palestinian health ministry reported that Abu Akleh was shot in the head during the raid. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition where she was pronounced dead.
The producer Ali Samoudi, who was also shot with Abu Akleh, gave a statement in hospital. He reportedly said that he and the deceased journalist were going to film Israel’s raid but they shot them without asking them to stop or leave. Samoudi added that the first bullet hit him and the second bullet hit Shireen. He also revealed that there was no Palestinian resistant present at the scene.
Calls for Transparent Investigation
51-year-old Al Jazeera journalist was a well-known and respectable figure among colleagues and viewers. Her unexplained death has broken many hearts across the world. Even Americans questioned how their country will react after its citizen got shot in Israel.
World leaders are calling for a complete, independent, and transparent investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh. US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said that “a guardian of truth was killed by an apartheid government that we continue to fund with unconditional aid”. She continued that Washington should not allow “the same people to do investigation who are committing war crimes”. She added that “We need to investigate the killing of American citizens ourselves”.
The Icon of Palestine Coverage
Shireen Abu Akleh was the most famous journalist in the Arab world. She has been the face and voice of Palestine’s cause for 25 years. Millions of viewers know her from the stories she shared every day about the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. She was also one of the first field correspondents of Al Jazeera, joining the network in 1997. Arab people looked up to her and fellow journalists held her in high regard. Her death has intensified criticism of Israel and risked its newly established relationship with the Arab World. Many Muslim countries have been staging various protests to demand justice for slain Al Jazeera journalist.
The news about the killing of Abu Akleh came just a few days after the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), and the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) filed an official complaint about the “systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists” at The Hague. According to reports, about 50 Palestinian journalists have been killed since 2000. ICJP reported that Israeli forces have a history of targeting Palestinian journalists without any accountability. Israeli soldiers have beaten and arrested Palestinian journalists multiple times in the past while openly declaring their intention of disrupting Palestinian coverage. Human Rights Watch has raised the alarm many times regarding the oppression of Palestinians by illegal Israeli occupying forces.