Shireen Abu Akleh

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American correspondent for Al-Jazeera Arabic, was fatally shot in the head on May 11, 2022, while 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 reports.

Abu Akleh, 51, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead shortly afterward, according to those sources. In the video, she is seen wearing a vest marked “Press.”

In a statement, Qatari-based Al-Jazeera alleged that Israeli forces had targeted Abu Akleh. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett disputed that allegation in a statement on Twitter. 

CNN reported that the Israeli Defense Forces initially 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.

Abu Akleh worked with UNRWA, Voice of Palestine Radio, Amman Satellite Channel, the Miftah Foundation, and Monte Carlo Radio before joining Al Jazeera in 1997, according to CNN.

Al-Jazeera producer Ali al-Samoudi was also shot and injured while working in the same area; he was treated in a local hospital, according to Al-Jazeera English.

CPJ emailed the Palestinian Ministry of Information and the media and North America desks of the Israeli Defense Forces for comment, but did not receive any replies.