Senate Democrats demand US investigation into Abu Akleh killing
More than 20 US Democratic Senators have signed a letter calling on President Joe Biden to ensure that the United States is directly involved in the investigation of the killing of veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
In a letter published on Thursday, the 24 senators – all Democrats – demanded that the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launch an independent investigation into the killing.
Pressure is building on Biden, who plans to visit Israel in July, to take concrete steps to ensure a full and impartial investigation.
“It has now been over a month since American citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot to death while reporting on an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin. Since that time, there has been no significant progress toward the establishment of an independent, thorough, and transparent investigation into her killing,” the joint letter reads.
“We believe that, as a leader in the effort to protect the freedom of the press and the safety of journalists, and given the fact that Ms. Abu Akleh was an American citizen, the US government has an obligation to ensure that a comprehensive, impartial, and open investigation into her shooting death is conducted — one in which all parties can have full confidence in the ultimate findings,” the letter continued.
“In order to protect freedom of the press, a thorough and transparent investigation under US auspices must be conducted to get to the truth and provide accountability for the killing of this American citizen and journalist,” it added.
This is the second Senate letter this month regarding Abu Akleh’s killing. The first was sent by Senators Jon Ossoff and Mitt Romney, the only Republican senator so far to speak out about the killing.
Abu Akleh, a reporter for Al Jazeera, was shot dead on 11 May with a single bullet to the neck while on assignment in the West Bank covering an Israeli raid in Jenin.
Eyewitness accounts as well as media investigations point to the Israeli military as the culprit. Demands are continuing to grow for an independent investigation.