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11 May, 2022 08:47

Veteran journalist killed in West Bank

The Al Jazeera reporter was struck by a bullet while covering an Israeli raid on a Palestinian city
Veteran journalist killed in West Bank

Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian journalist who worked with Al Jazeera for over two decades, was killed on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid on the city of Jenin in the northern part of the West Bank. The Palestinian authorities claim the Israeli military shot her in her head.

The 51-year-old was rushed to hospital after sustaining the critical injury but was pronounced dead, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, blaming Israeli forces for her death.

Al Jazeera called the incident a “heinous crime” and claimed the Israelis deliberately targeted Abu Akleh to intimidate the media. Eyewitnesses said she was struck by a bullet below her ear, bypassing the helmet she was wearing for protection, the outlet said.

“We call on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for the deliberate killing of our colleague,” the statement said.

Another Palestinian journalist, Ali Samoudi, was reportedly hit in the back in Jenin on Wednesday and is in stable condition, according to the Palestinian authorities.

The Israeli side has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the death of Abu Akleh. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called her death “sad,” and reached out to Palestinian officials to participate in the autopsy “to get to the truth.”

A well-known and respected figure in the Arab world, Abu Akleh worked for several news agencies before joining Al Jazeera in 1997.

Israeli forces, including the IDF, Border Patrol, and Shin Bet security agency, have conducted raids on an almost daily basis in the West Bank amid a series of deadly attacks by Palestinian militants in Israel. The city of Jenin and its refugee camp have been among the primary targets. On several occasions, the raids have escalated into lethal clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian fighters.

Some civilians have been caught in the crossfire, including a teenage girl who was killed near Bethlehem in April while returning home from studying. The IDF confirmed she was struck by gunfire from their troops, but said soldiers were targeting Palestinians who were throwing firebombs at them and that they had the right to use lethal force in response.