Yellow tape marks bullet holes on a tree at the site where Palestinian-American Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed in the West Bank city of Jenin, as pictured on May 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

News investigations suggest Israeli military culpability in killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

Beirut, May 26, 2022 – In response to recent in-depth news investigations from The Associated PressCNN, and open source outlet Bellingcat corroborating witness claims that Israeli military fire killed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian city of Jenin on May 11, CPJ issued the following statement calling for an independent international probe: 

“Newsroom recreations of the horrific shooting death of Shireen Abu Akleh are part of the vital work of getting to the bottom of who silenced one of the Middle East’s most important journalists and why,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour, in Washington, D.C. “CPJ reiterates its call for an independent international investigation into the killing and demands that states and governmental actors take into account these salient works of journalism suggesting Israeli culpability.” 

The Israeli military claimed last week that Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American, was killed in an “active combat situation” between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants and declined to immediately open a criminal probe into its soldiers as it continues an operational inquiry, according to The Guardian

In contrast, CNN said its investigation found “there was no active combat, nor any Palestinian militants, near Abu Akleh in the moments leading up to her death,” and said it had found evidence of a “targeted attack.”

On Thursday, May 26, Palestinian Authority Attorney General Akram Al Khateeb announced the results of the Palestinian investigation finding that Israel “directly and deliberately” killed Abu Akleh; Israeli military chief Lieutenant General Aviv Kohavi denied this in a speech the same day, saying “no soldier fired intentionally at a journalist,” The Associated Press reported. Al-Jazeera has also blamed Israel, calling it a killing “in cold blood.” 

Israel previously said in a statement provided to CPJ that its initial investigation showed either Israeli or Palestinian fire killed Abu Akleh.  

On Thursday, CPJ joined 33 press freedom and human rights groups calling for an independent investigation by governments and international groups into Abu Akleh’s killing.