World, Americas

US lawmaker holds moment of silence for slain Palestinian-American journalist

Rashida Tlaib fights back tears as US House of Representatives falls silent in memory of Shireen Abu Akleh

Michael Hernandez   | 11.05.2022
US lawmaker holds moment of silence for slain Palestinian-American journalist

WASHINGTON

US lawmaker Rashida Tlaib held a moment of silence in the House of Representatives on Wednesday for slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

Tlaib, who is also Palestinian-American, said that Americans woke up to the "shocking news" of Abu Akleh's killing, recalling the words of US President Joe Biden who just weeks ago hailed the contributions of journalists worldwide during the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.

"President Biden said we honor journalists killed, missing, imprisoned, detained and tortured covering war, exposing corruption and holding leaders accountable. He further said that the free press is not the enemy of people, far from it, at your best, he told the journalists, 'You are the guardians of the truth,'" she said.

"People woke up to the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. I would like to do a moment of silence as we heard the shocking news of this journalist of over 20 years, a Palestinian-American, killed," she added, fighting back tears as the chamber laid silent with those present standing in remembrance.

Abu Akleh, 51, was shot dead while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied 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 An-Najah University in Nablus, 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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