Longtime Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed during a live raid in the West Bank city of Jenin early Wednesday, the TV news network and the Palestinian health ministry announced. Both blame the Israeli army for her death.
“Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen,” Al Jazeera said in a statement. “It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable.”
The Israel Defense Forces claims its forces had been operating in the area “to arrest suspects in terrorist activities,” and both Palestinian suspects and Israeli forces were firing rounds at the time.
“The possibility that journalists were hit, possibly by Palestinian gunfire, is being investigated. The event is being examined,” the IDF said.
Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett also claims Palestinian fighters were the ones who fatally shot Abu Akleh.
Al Jazeera reported that Abu Akleh was wearing a protective vest that identified her as a member of the news media. Another Al Jazeera journalist, Ali Samoudi, who was also wearing a protective vest, was shot in the back, according to the Qatar-based network. He is in stable condition.
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides commented on the situation via Twitter. It’s notable that Nides is married to CNN U.S. newsgathering executive Virginia Moseley.
Very sad to learn of the death of American and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh of @AJArabic @AJEnglish. I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin.
— Ambassador Tom Nides (@USAmbIsrael) May 11, 2022
Palestine TV correspondent Christine Rinawi told Al Jazeera that Abu Akleh represented “a fountain of knowledge” in the world of journalism.
“I’ve been a journalist in Jerusalem for more than 12 years—I learned from Shireen on all levels, not just journalism,” said Rinawi. “We lost Shireen because the killing of Palestinians has become an easy matter. There are no words to explain the pain of what every Palestinian and Arab journalist is going through—and especially those who worked with her and saw her high professionalism and manners.”
At least 27 journalists have been killed while on the job since the start of 2022. Seven were killed in Ukraine, eight in Mexico, according to Reporters Without Borders. Additionally, The Committee to Protect Journalists’ says 29 journalists and media workers have been killed this year while doing their jobs.
“She was fearless, but she was also human.”
Shireen Abu Akleh’s colleague and close friend @DaliaHatuqa remembers the impact she had on the Arab world—and how she inspired a generation of women to become journalists.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 11, 2022