Al Jazeera’s journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was allegedly shot dead in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. She was covering the Israeli raids in the city.
While Al Jazeera alleged that the Israeli forces deliberately shot Akleh, Tel Aviv denied the claims. Akleh joined Al Jazeera in 1997 and was part of the initial team of the network.
The Israeli military captured the West Bank in 1967 during the Mideast war, AFP reported. The Palestinians want it back to form their future state.
Another Al Jazeera journalist, Ali Samoudi, was also shot in the back, the Palestinian Health Ministry added. Samoudi’s condition is now stable.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent Nida Ibrahim said that Akleh was shot in the head.
“What we know for now is that the Palestinian Health Ministry has announced her death,” Ibrahim said. “Shireen Abu Akleh was covering the events unfolding in Jenin, specifically an Israeli raid the city, which is north of the occupied West Bank when she was hit by a bullet to the head.”
Shatha Hanaysha, another Al Jazeera reporter travelling with Akleh in the same vehicle, said that shots were fired without confrontations.
“The occupation army did not stop firing even after she collapsed,” she said. “I couldn’t even extend my arm to pull her because of the shots.”
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that Tel Aviv had initiated an investigation into the incident.
“We offer the Palestinians a joint pathological investigation into the unfortunate death of journalist Sheerin Abu Akala,” Lapid wrote on Twitter. “Journalists must be protected on battlefields and we have a duty to reach out to the truth. Israel’s security forces will continue to operate everywhere to prevent terrorism and the murder of Israelis.”
An unidentified Israeli military official denied that the journalists were deliberately targeted, Al Jazeera reported. The official said that the Israeli forces were fired at, and they had retaliated. “The [Army] of course does not aim at journalists,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian government held the Israeli military responsible for the attack.
“The presidency holds the Israeli government fully responsible for this heinous crime,” it said in a statement, Al Jazeera reported.