The Palestinian health ministry said on Wednesday, 11 May, that Israeli forces have shot dead Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist working for Al Jazeera, in the occupied West Bank.
She was hit by a bullet while covering Israeli raids in Jenin and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition where she was declared dead on arrival.
Nida Ibrahim, Al Jazeera correspondent in the West Bank, said, “What we know for now is that the Palestinian Health Ministry has announced her death. Shireen Abu Akleh was covering the events unfolding in Jenin, specifically an Israeli raid in the city, which is north of the occupied West Bank, when she was hit by a bullet to the head,” as quoted by Al Jazeera.
In the video footage of the aftermath of the killing, which is circulating on social media, Abu Akleh can be seen wearing a jacket which clearly depicts that she is part of the “PRESS.”
Shot by Israeli Forces Deliberately: Al Jazeera; Israeli PM Counters
The Qatar-based TV channel also said that 51-year-old Akleh was shot deliberately and "in cold blood" by Israeli forces while she was covering the unrest in Jenin.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that it was likely that Akleh was killed by gunfire from the Palestinian side.
"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," Bennet said, as per AFP.
While the Israeli military confirmed that it had undertaken an operation in the camp, it denied targeting the journalist deliberately.
Another Al Jazeera journalist named Ali al-Samudi was injured during the incident. "The first bullet hit me and the second bullet hit Shireen. They killed her in cold blood," he claimed.
The Israeli military, according to the Washington Post, said its forces came under attack while operating in Jenin, and that they fired back. It added that it is “investigating the event and looking into the possibility that the journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen”.
Investigation to be Conducted: Israeli FM
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that the country would initiate a "joint pathological investigation into the sad death of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh". He further added that journalists must be protected in conflict zones, as per AFP.
However, Palestinian Authority official Hussein al-Sheikh claimed that they had received no word from Israel about any joint investigation into the matter, and reiterated that the latter were responsible for Akleh's death.
The United States ambassador to Israel Tomas Nides also called for a "thorough investigation" into the journalist's death.
“Israeli occupation forces assassinated our beloved journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while covering their brutality in Jenin this morning. Shireen was most prominent Palestinian journalist and a close friend,” tweeted Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, in a heartfelt tribute, residents laid flowers on the roadside as a vehicle carried the body of Akleh towards Nablus, where an autopsy was scheduled to be conducted before her burial in Jerusalem, from where she hails
(With inputs from Al Jazeera, Washington Post and AFP.)
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