Americas

US decries killing of Palestinian-American journalist: 'Affront to media freedom'

State Department does not assign blame for Shireen Abu Akleh's death as Al Jazeera says Israel is responsible

Michael Hernandez   | 11.05.2022
US decries killing of Palestinian-American journalist: 'Affront to media freedom'

WASHINGTON

The US sharply denounced on Wednesday the killing of a Palestinian-American journalist in the occupied West Bank during an Israeli raid, but did not assign blame for Shireen Abu Akleh's death.

"We are heartbroken by and strongly condemn the killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank," State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Twitter. "The investigation must be immediate and thorough and those responsible must be held accountable. Her death is an affront to media freedom everywhere."

Abu Akleh, 51, was shot dead while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin Wednesday morning. Another journalist Ali Al-Samoudi was shot in the back, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Rayyan al-Ali, the director of the Forensic Medicine Institute at the An-Najah University in Nablus city, said the autopsy he conducted determined Abu Akleh was fatally shot in the head.

The Doha-based Al Jazeera news network has accused Israeli forces of deliberately assassinating its reporter “in cold blood.” It said the killing was a “heinous crime, which intends to only prevent the media from conducting their duty.”

Israel has sought to pin blame for Abu Akleh's killing on Palestinian gunmen, posting a video to social media of alleged armed Palestinians firing in Jenin.

But Israeli rights group B'Tselem said the video does not correspond to the location where Abu Akleh was shot and killed, and that "documentation of Palestinian gunfire distributed by Israeli military cannot be the gunfire that killed Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh."

Abu Akleh was born in Jerusalem in 1971 and earned a BA in journalism and media from Yarmouk University in Jordan. She also holds US citizenship.

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