A female Al Jazeera reporter was shot and killed during a raid on a refugee camp, with Qatar claiming Israeli security forces ‘shot her in the face’.
Well-known Palestinian television personality Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was killed during a raid in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin early Wednesday.
Al Jazeera put the blame for her death at the feet of Israeli security forces, who said it is ‘investigating the event and looking into the possibility that the journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen.’
Another Palestinian journalist, Ali Al Samoudi, working for the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds newspaper, was wounded but in stable condition, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
The Qatar-based broadcaster blamed Israeli forces, saying she was shot ‘deliberately’ and ‘in cold blood’ by Israeli troops while wearing a press vest and helmet.
In a statement that flashed on its channel, it called on the international community to ‘condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for deliberately targeting and assassinating our colleague, Shireen Abu Akleh.’
In video footage of the incident, Abu Akleh can be seen wearing a blue flak jacket clearly marked with the word ‘PRESS.’
Well-known Palestinian television personality Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, (pictured) from Jerusalem, was killed during a raid on the occupied West Bank town of Jenin early Wednesday
Journalists escort the body of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, who was shot dead by Israeli troops as she covered a raid on the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp this morning
Journalists mourn over the body of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh. In video footage of the incident, Abu Akleh can be seen wearing a blue flak jacket clearly marked with the word ‘PRESS’
A medical worker covers the body of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Al Jazeera put the blame for her death at the feet of Israeli security forces, who said it is ‘investigating the event and looking into the possibility that the journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen’
The Israeli army confirmed that its forces had carried out an operation in a Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday morning, in a region known to be a stronghold of Palestinian armed groups in the northern West Bank.
It firmly denied, however, that it had deliberately targeted journalists.
‘The (army) of course does not aim at journalists,’ a military official told AFP. ‘There is an ongoing inquiry into this event. We offered and want to conduct a joint investigation with the Palestinians.’
The army said that during its operation in the camp, ‘massive fire was shot toward Israeli forces by tens of armed Palestinian gunmen’.
People in the camp ‘also hurled explosive devices toward the soldiers, endangering their lives. The soldiers responded with fire toward the sources of the fire and explosive devices. Hits were identified.’
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said it had proposed to the Palestinian Authority a joint pathological investigation into the reporter’s death.
‘Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth,’ he tweeted.
Shireen Abu Akleh’s press colleague is consoled by another colleague after the raid on a refugee camp in Jenin, in the north West Bank
She was present at her death according to unverified videos from the scene, trying to pull Abu Akleh’s body to safety
Mourners and masked armed men carry the body of veteran Al Jazeera Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, shot and killed this morning during an Israeli raid in Jenin
The Qatar-based broadcaster blamed Israeli forces, saying Abu Akleh was shot ‘deliberately’ and ‘in cold blood’ by Israeli troops while wearing a press vest and helmet
The Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the occupied West Bank and cooperates with Israel on security matters, condemned what it said was a ‘shocking crime’ committed by Israeli forces.
Abu Akleh, 51, was born in Jerusalem. She began working for Al-Jazeera in 1997 and regularly reported on-camera from across the Palestinian territories.
Israel has carried out near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks amid a series of deadly attacks inside Israel, many of them carried out by Palestinians from in and around Jenin.
The town, and particularly its refugee camp, has long been known as a militant bastion.
Israelis have long been critical of Al-Jazeera’s coverage, but authorities generally allow its journalists to operate freely.
Another Al-Jazeera reporter, Givara Budeiri, was briefly detained last year during a protest in Jerusalem and treated for a broken hand, which her employer blamed on rough treatment by police.
Relations between Israeli forces and the media, especially Palestinian journalists, is strained.
A number of Palestinian reporters have been wounded by rubber-coated bullets or tear gas while covering demonstrations in the West Bank.
A Palestinian journalist in Gaza was shot and killed by Israeli forces while filming violent protests along the Gaza frontier in 2018.
Another journalist working for a local Gaza radio station, who was shot on the same day at Gaza frontier, died a week later
In November 2018, Associated Press reporter Rashed Rashid was covering a protest near the Gaza frontier when he was shot in the left ankle, apparently by Israeli fire.
Rashid was wearing protective gear that clearly identified him as a journalist, and was standing with a crowd of other journalists some 600 meters (660 yards) away from the Israeli border when he was hit. The military has never acknowledged the shooting.
During last year’s war between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, an Israeli airstrike destroyed the building in Gaza City housing the offices of The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera.
Residents were warned to evacuate and no one was hurt in the strike. Israel said Hamas was using the building as a command center but has provided no evidence.