Israeli army accused of killing Al-Jazeera journalist

For more than two decades, Shireen Abu Akleh was the face of Palestine on the Arab world’s top channel, the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera. Palestinians under 30 have grown up following the daily chronicles of the second Intifada (2000-2005) of this discreet, courteous and pugnacious journalist. The Palestinian-American reporter had covered the quiet death of the Oslo peace process and the daily endless occupation of the territories by the Israeli army, in force since the 1967 conquest. She was killed in Jenin , Wednesday, May 11, by Israeli fire, according to witnesses, the Palestinian Ministry of Health and his employer. It covered a raid by the Israeli army in the refugee camp of this large city in the northern West Bank.

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Al-Jazeera condemns murder ” in cold blood “, a “heinous crime, which aims to prevent the media from doing their job”. Qatari authorities say she was hit by a bullet ” in the face “. Transported to a hospital in critical condition, she succumbed to her injury. In a first statement, the Israeli forces indicated that they were exploring “the possibility that journalists [aient] been hit by Palestinian gunmen”, without mentioning their possible liability. On Army Radio, an Israeli officer, Ran Kochav, claimed that the two journalists were standing near armed Palestinians, “amateurs, terrorists, who were shooting at our troops”.

Concordant testimonies

An Al-Jazeera producer, Ali Al-Samodi, was also shot in the back and hospitalized, but his condition is stable. At the Associated Press, he says he was with his colleague among seven journalists who came to cover the raid early Wednesday. All wore bulletproof vests with blindfolds ” Hurry “, which clearly identified them. They had walked past the Israeli troops, to make sure they knew of their presence. Mr. Samoudi heard a first shot, then was hit by a second, the third killed Shireen Abu Akleh, he said, adding that no militants or residents of the camp were near them.

Journalists around the body of Shireen Abu Akleh, at Jenin hospital in the West Bank on May 11, 2022.

His colleague Shaza Hanaysheh confirmed to Al-Jazeera that no fighting or shooting was taking place in their immediate surroundings. They tried to take shelter behind a tree when the shooting started. “I reached it before Shireen. She fell to the ground, she says. The soldiers didn’t stop shooting even after he fell. Every time I reached out my hand to get her out, the soldiers shot at us. » The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has proposed “a joint forensic investigation” to the Palestinian Authority, which judges Israel “fully responsible”.

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