Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed in West Bank
In a tragic incident, an Al Jazeera journalist was allegedly shot in the head while reporting an Israeli raid in the West Bank town of Palestine's Jenin early on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry said. Another Al Jazeera journalist—Ali al-Samudi, who was accompanying Shireen Abu Akleh—was also injured. Al-Samudi is currently reported to be stable.
The Palestinian health ministry said the reporters were hit in firing by Israeli security forces. Accusing the Israeli forces of deliberately targeting Abu Akleh, 51, and killing her, Al Jazeera urged the international community to condemn the attack and hold Israel responsible. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said when Akleh was shot, both Palestinian suspects and Israeli forces exchanged fire simultaneously.
Confirming that it conducted an operation early on Wednesday in the Jenin refugee camp, the Israeli army said, "...suspects fired heavily at the force and threw explosives. The force responded by firing..." CNN reported Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid as saying that his government is ready to conduct a collaborative Israeli-Palestinian investigation. He also said that journalists must be provided protection in conflict zones.
Al-Samudi said, "We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming." He said the first bullet hit him and the second bullet hit Shireen, adding that no Palestinian gunmen were present in the area. Al Jazeera's Nida Ibrahim said videos of the incident show that she was shot in the head.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' party Fatah condemned Abu Akleh's killing and said, "Targeting Shireen is a clear targeting of the truth, and [Israel] wants to cover its crimes against the Palestinian people," said Osama al-Qawasami, a party spokesman. "Israel wants to send a message to journalists around the world that the fate of whoever wants to cover the truth will be deadly," he added.
Born and brought up in Jerusalem, Abu Akleh belonged to a Christian family. She worked as a teacher at Birzeit University. Later, she joined Voice of Palestine Radio, Amman Satellite Channel, the Miftah Foundation, and Monte Carlo Radio before working with Al Jazeera.
Tensions between Israel and Palestine have risen in recent months with at least 18 people being killed since March 22. This includes an Arab-Israeli police officer and two Ukrainians. As many as 30 Palestinians, including those killed by Israeli security forces in West Bank operations, have been killed in the same period, as per an AFP tally.