A picture of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is seen in Gaza City on May 11, 2022. CPJ called on the U.S. government to seek accountability in Abu Akleh's killing. (AP/Adel Hana)

CPJ calls for US to pursue accountability in Shireen Abu Akleh killing

New York, July 5, 2022 – The U.S. government should ensure that those responsible for the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akhleh are held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.

On Monday, July 4, State Department spokesperson Ned Price released a statement saying that a U.S. forensic investigation concluded that the Israel Defense Forces were “likely responsible” for shooting and killing Abu Akleh but that there was “no reason to believe that this was intentional.” The statement added that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was “badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion” into who fired the shot.

“U.S. authorities should not rest until those responsible for the death of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh are identified and held to account,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour, in Washington, D.C. “The U.S. should either take the lead in investigating Abu Akleh’s death in a fully credible and transparent manner, or it should support international efforts to seek justice on behalf of her and her family.”

The State Department statement said that U.S. authorities were “granted full access to both Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian Authority (PA) investigations” into the killing.

On Twitter, Abu Akleh’s family posted a statement condemning the State Department conclusions, and reiterated their call for an “open, transparent and thorough investigation” into the killing and for the Israeli military and government to be held accountable.

Eyewitnesses told CPJ that Israeli soldiers shot and killed Abu Akleh on May 11, and several different media outletsinvestigations have backed up accounts that the gunfire came from an Israeli military convoy.