Israeli forces shoots Al Jazeera journalist dead
Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist with Al Jazeera, was shot in the head by Israeli forces while on assignment in Jenin, a Palestinian city in West Bank.
The Palestinian health ministry said she was declared dead at the hospital.
According to the ministry and Al Jazeera journalists, she was hit by a live bullet while covering Israeli raids in Jenin on Wednesday and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Abu Akleh was killed while wearing a press vest.
Ali Samoudi, another Al Jazeera journalist, was also injured after being shot in the back. He is now in stable condition and has stated that no Palestinian fighters were present when the journalists were shot, directly contradicting an Israeli statement that alluded to the possibility.
“We were about to film the Israeli army operation when they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming,” Samoudi explained. “The first bullet struck me, and the second struck Shireen… There was no Palestinian military resistance present.”
Shatha Hanaysha, a Palestinian journalist who was nearby when Abu Akleh was shot, also told Al Jazeera that there had been no clashes between Palestinian fighters and the Israeli army, and that the group of journalists had been targeted.
“We were four journalists, all wearing vests and helmets,” Hanaysha explained. “Even after she collapsed, the [Israeli] occupation army did not stop firing.” Because of the shots, I couldn’t even extend my arm to pull her. The army insisted on shooting to kill.”
The circumstances surrounding Abu Akleh’s death are unknown, but videos of the incident show that she was shot in the head, according to Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim.
“For the time being, we only know that her death has been announced by the Palestinian Health Ministry.” Shireen Abu Akleh was covering events unfolding in Jenin, specifically an Israeli raid on the city, which is located north of the occupied West Bank, when she was hit in the head,” Ibrahim said from Ramallah, the Palestinian capital.
“As you might expect, this comes as a surprise to the journalists who have been working with her.”
Through tears, Ibrahim described Abu Akleh as a “very well respected journalist.”
Abu Akleh joined Al Jazeera as one of the network’s first field correspondents in 1997.
The Israeli military said it was attacked with heavy gunfire and explosives while operating in Jenin and responded by firing back. It went on to say that it was “investigating the incident.”
Fatah, the Palestinian president’s party, condemned Abu Akleh’s assassination.
“Targeting Shireen is a clear targeting of the truth, and [Israel] wants to cover up its crimes against the Palestinian people,” Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasami said. “Israel wishes to send a message to journalists all over the world that those who seek to expose the truth will be shot and killed.”
The Israeli foreign minister, Yair Lapid, stated that Tel Aviv is offering a “joint pathological investigation” into Abu Akleh’s “sad death.” He went on to say that “journalists must be protected in conflict zones.”
During an offensive a year ago, Israeli forces bombed Al Jazeera’s Gaza offices, which also housed the Associated Press, and Palestinian and international journalists say they have been regularly targeted by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.