An Al Jazeera journalist has recently been killed by Israeli forces while reporting on the ongoing violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American, was fatally shot in the head while out on the front lines in the city of Jenin on Wednesday. At the time, she was wearing a blue vest with the word ‘PRESS’ written on it, distinctively identifying her as a journalist and yet, according to Al Jazeera, she was deliberately targeted by Israeli assassins.
“In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine, Shireen Abu Akleh, targeting her with live fire early this morning, Wednesday, May 11, 2022,” they wrote in a statement.
“Al Jazeera Media Network condemns this heinous crime, which intends to only prevent the media from conducting their duty. Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen. It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their intentional targeting and killing of Shireen.”
Not only that, but they also shot Ali Al-Samudi, a producer for the news station, but he is in stable condition.
Multiple reports have stated that Abu Akleh was in a car in Jenin camp, as the Israeli Occupation Forces fired at the vehicle. She then got out and was cornered before being shot in the head and left faced down on the ground with another journalist left distressed beside her.
Later, the the Israel Defense Forces said its security had been in the area “to arrest suspects in terrorist activities,” and both Palestinian suspects and Israeli forces were firing.
“As part of the activity in the Jenin refugee camp, suspects fired heavily at the force and threw explosives. The force responded by firing. Hits were detected,” they said. “The possibility that journalists were hit, possibly by Palestinian gunfire, is being investigated. The event is being examined.”
However, Al-Samudi said that there were no Palestinian gunmen in the area at the time, confirming that “the Israeli army shot us. There was no Palestinian gunman in the place.”
Then to shamelessly double down on their story, the Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, added that it “appears likely” armed Palestinians were in fact responsible for Abu Akleh’s death, saying: “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.”
Another reporter who was working alongside Abu Akleh said that the press made themselves known to the IDF right before they were shot.
“I saw Shireen on the ground,” Mujahed al-Saadi. “We tried to rescue Shireen and we couldn’t.”
He continued: “The occupation targeted Shireen while wearing a helmet, the injury was under the ear. Shireen fell while she was wearing press (gear) and even with that the people who tried to save her were shot at, the targeting was clear against Shireen and against us as journalistic teams.”
Abu Akleh graduated from Al Yarmouk University in Jordan with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and media and then started working for Al Jazeera in 1997, just a year after the station was launched. The veteran reporter was fifty-one at the time of her death.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones during this extremely difficult time.