Shireen Abu Akleh - Al Jazeera

Palestinian journalist killed by Israeli fire – UN Human Rights Office

The UN Human Rights Office says prominent Palestinian reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by shots from Israeli security forces.

It says its own investigation, including official information from the Israeli military and the Palestinian Attorney-General, shows the bullets that killed her did not come from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians as initially claimed by Israeli authorities and said it was “deeply disturbing that Israeli authorities have not conducted a criminal investigation”.
“We have found no information suggesting that there was activity by armed Palestinians in the immediate vicinity of the journalists,” said the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s office on June 24, noting it had inspected photo, video and audio material, visited the scene, consulted experts, reviewed official communications and interviewed witnesses.

Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in the West Bank on May 11 – shot in the head while wearing a protective press vest and helmet as she was covering Israeli army raids in the city of Jenin.

Her employer Al Jazeera said Shireen Abu Akleh was shot “deliberately” and “in cold blood” by Israeli troops.
Israel’s prime minister said it was “likely” she was shot by Palestinian gunmen during an exchange of fire.

Her producer Ali al-Samoudi was also shot and wounded in the same incident.
He and other journalists at the scene said there were no Palestinian fighters present when the journalists were shot, directly disputing the Israeli claim.
“We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming.”

At the funeral on Friday 13 May Israeli police officers assaulted mourners forcing pallbearers to nearly drop the coffin.
Online video shows the attack outside a hospital in East Jerusalem where mourners had gathered to take the coffin of Ms. Abu Akleh, who was a Christian, to a nearby church for her funeral.
In a statement, Israeli police said they “took enforcement action” after some mourners began chanting “nationalist incitement” and after police officers had given the crowd a warning.

At least two videos of the original fatal shooting are online.
One shows the moment of the shooting as those around her shout warnings that a sniper is firing at them.
The other shows what Israeli authorities say is a Palestinian man in a balaclava “firing indiscriminately”.
The bullet that killed Abu Akleh has also become a centre of contention – Palestinians declined an Israeli request to hand it over as they said Israel cannot be trusted to investigate the killing and Israeli officials said the Palestinians were refusing to provide the bullet in order to obscure its origin.

It is by no means the first attack on Al Jazeera journalists – the building housing their offices and global news agency Associated Press in the Gaza Strip was bombed by Israeli forces during an offensive a year ago.

The government of Qatar which funds Al Jazeera called the latest killing a “heinous crime and a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and a blatant infringement on freedom of media and expression”.

The United States condemned the killing and called for a thorough investigation – Abu Akleh was also an American citizen.
The Israeli government proposed a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority.
Palestine’s UN ambassador said his country will “not accept” an investigation by the “Israeli occupying authority” and has held the Israeli army responsible for the “assassination” of Abu Akleh.

Many countries around the world condemned the killing and joined the call for a full independent investigation as did many media freedom and human rights groups including the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters without Borders (RSF), the UK National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Thousands of Palestinians mourned Abu Akleh at her state funeral in Ramallah on May 12.
She was widely known and respected throughout the Arab world and beyond for her reporting particularly of the Palestinian issue since joining Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel in 1997.

UN Human Rights Office says Palestinian reporter killed by Israeli fire
Al Jazeera on Shireen killing
New York Times: Tracing a bullet
Bellingcat: Unravelling a killing
Shireen Abu Akleh killed
Israeli police attack mourners
Shireen Abu Akleh – speaking truth to power
UN officials call for independent investigation
An eyewitness account
Two conflicting videos of shooting
Video of the location – the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
The bullet
Israel bombs Al Jazeera, AP offices – 15 May 2021
Reaction from around the world and media freedom groups
The Palestinian world mourns Shireen
The Funeral – video
Remembering Shireen – Lyse Doucet
Comparing the killing of journalists and ordinary citizens – from Haaretz