Beirut, May 11, 2022 – Israeli and Palestinian authorities must conduct a swift, immediate, and transparent investigation into the killing of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank today, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.
On Wednesday, May 11, Abu Akleh, a prominent Palestinian-American correspondent for Al-Jazeera Arabic, was fatally shot in the head while she was covering an Israeli army operation in the West Bank town of Jenin, according to a report by Al-Jazeera , a video of the aftermath of the shooting posted on Twitter by Al-Jazeera, and multiple news outlets. She was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead shortly afterward, according to those sources. In the video, Abu Akleh is seen wearing a vest marked “Press.”
“We are shocked and strongly condemn the killing of the prominent Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank while doing her job and while clearly identified as a journalist,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour in Washington, D.C. “We call for an immediate and thorough investigation into her killing. Journalists must be able to do their jobs safely and freely without being a target.”
A producer for Al-Jazeera, Ali al-Samoudi, was also shot and injured while working in the same area; he was treated in a local hospital and is in stable condition, according to Al-Jazeera English.
In a statement, Qatari-based Al-Jazeera alleged that Israeli forces had targeted Abu Akleh.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett denied those allegations in a statement on Twitter. CNN reported that the Israeli Defense Forces said its forces had been operating in the area “to arrest suspects in terrorist activities,” and that both Palestinian suspects and Israeli forces were firing at the time. The Associated Press reported that in a statement issued later May 11, Israeli army chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said, “at this stage, we cannot determine by whose fire she was harmed and we regret her death.” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a tweet that Israel offered to conduct a joint investigation into her death with the Palestinians.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides in a Twitter post confirmed that Abu Akleh was an American citizen and called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death.
CPJ emailed the media and North America desks of the Israeli Defense Forces, but did not receive an immediate response.
[Editor’s note: The sixth paragraph has been updated with a statement from Israel’s army chief.]