On July 15, 2022, vehicles in U.S. President Joe Biden's motorcade drive by a sign with an image of slain Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, in Bethlehem, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The U.S. government has opened an investigation into her shooting death. (Reuters/Evelyn Hockstein)

US FBI-led investigation of Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing a welcome first step

New York, November 15, 2022—The Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday welcomed reports that the FBI plans to investigate the May 11 killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as an important first step toward potentially achieving justice in her case.

The U.S. Department of Justice notified the Israeli Ministry of Justice of the investigation, and Israel’s outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz has rejected the move, according to news reports.

“We are encouraged by reports that the FBI is finally going to investigate the senseless killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist and U.S. citizen. While months overdue, this is an important step toward holding the Israel Defense Forces to account for her death,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour, in Washington, D.C. “We call on U.S. authorities to follow through with this investigation to the furthest extent possible, and for Israeli authorities not to hinder it.”

Abu Akleh was shot and killed on May 11 while she reported on an Israeli military raid in the Palestinian West Bank city of Jenin. Eyewitnesses and multiple investigations concluded that an Israeli soldier fired the bullet that killed her, and a U.S. State Department probe found that an Israeli soldier “likely” killed Abu Akleh but that there was “no reason to believe” the soldier intentionally targeted her.