Leading Palestinian journalist gunned down during Israeli military raid

Arthur Greene

Shireen Abu Akleh, a reporter for Al Jazeera and one of the Arab speaking world’s most prominent journalists, was shot dead on Wednesday.

Abu Akleh, 51, was shot in the head during a raid by the Israeli military in the West Bank, a killing that Palestine’s president has called a “crime of execution”.

Another Al Jazeera journalist, producer Ali Samoudi, was shot in the back but he remains in a stable condition in hospital.

Wearing a helmet and a blue flak jacket clearly marked “PRESS”, Abu Akleh travelled early on Wednesday morning to report on a military raid carried out in the Jenin refugee camp.

The events that followed remain unclear. A video of the incident has been verified by Sky News but it does not show the exact moment the journalist was shot or who shot her.

It shows Abu Akleh when she is lying on the ground after she is shot. Her colleagues can be heard shouting that they believe a sniper is shooting at them.


Al Jazeera said that its reporters at the scene said that Israeli forces were firing at them.

The news publication later accused Israel of carrying out a “blatant murder” and “violating international laws and norms”.

“Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine, Shireen Abu Akleh, targeting her with live fire early this morning,” its damning report read.

An Israeli military statement tells a different story. It said that its soldiers returned fire after Palestinian gunmen fired shots at them and hurled missiles.

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was probably fired by an armed Palestinian. However, Israel’s military chief Lt Gen Aviv Kochavi later appeared to back away from that claim.

Bennett shared a second video of a man who appears to be a Palestinian militant firing a gun down an alley. News outlets have not yet verified the authenticity of this video.

Abu Akleh was taken to hospital in critical condition, where she later died.

What is indisputable is that Abu Akleh was one of the most recognisable and respected journalists in Palestine. She had spent decades covering the Israeli-Palestine conflict, and was perhaps more responsible than anyone else of broadcasting its images to TV screens across the world.

Image source: @Taj_Ali1

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