Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed 'in cold blood' by Israel forces while covering Jenin raid

Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed 'in cold blood' by Israel forces while covering Jenin raid
Shireen Abu Akleh, a senior journalist at Al Jazeera, was shot in the head with live gunfire, the Palestinian health ministry said.
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Shireen Abu Akleh was called 'our beloved journalist' and a 'close friend' by Palestinian ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot [Twitter/@ShireenNasri]

One of Palestine's best-known journalists, Shireen Abu Akleh, was shot dead by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday, where she had been reporting on an Israeli raid.

Al Jazeera journalist, Abu Akleh - known for her decades of tenacious reporting on Israel's occupation - was shot in the head, the Palestinian health ministry said.

Ali Al-Samoudi, an Al Jazeera producer working alongside Abu Akleh, was shot in the back, however, the ministry described him as being in a "stable" condition.

Witnesses said Abu Akleh was "murdered" by Israeli snipers with an outpouring of anger and shock at the 'cold-blooded killing' of one of Palestine's best-known reporters.

"I strongly condemn the killing of Al-Jazeera's reporter, Shireen Abu Aqla," United Nations Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted.

He expressed his "deepest condolences" to Abu Akleh's family and wished a "speedy recovery" to wounded journalist Al-Samoudi.

"I call for an immediate and thorough investigation and for those responsible to be held accountable," Wennesland added.

"Media workers should never be targeted."

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Both Al Jazeera and an AFP photographer at the scene said Abu Akleh was wearing a press flak jacket when she was shot.

The Palestinian Authority called Abu Akleh's killing an "execution," and part of an Israeli effort to obscure the "truth" about its occupation of the West Bank.

Palestinian ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot on Twitter called Abu Akleh "our beloved journalist" and a "close friend", saying Israeli troops had "assassinated" her.

"Now we will hear the 'concerns' of the UK government and the international community," he added in reference to the world's perceived inaction on Israeli abuses against Palestinians.

Al Jazeera urged the international community to "condemn" and "hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable" for what it called their "intentional targeting and killing" of Abu Akleh.

"In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera's correspondent in Palestine," the network said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Israel had "offered the Palestinians a joint pathological investigation" into Abu Akleh's "sad death".

"Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth," he tweeted.

But Lapid vowed that Israeli forces would still "continue to operate wherever necessary to prevent terrorism and the murder of Israelis".

Israel killed 46 Palestinian journalists between 2000 and 2020, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate reported.

Israeli occupation forces have killed or wounded dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank in recent weeks.

One Palestinian woman was shot dead as she held her hands above her head and ran away from the Israeli forces opening fire at her in April, graphic footage of the incident showed.

Ghada Ibrahim Ali Sabateen, a widow and mother-of-six, was walking near a checkpoint near Bethlehem and had been unarmed according to an Israeli forces spokesperson, who claimed that she looked "suspicious".