Calls mount for probe into reporter’s killing by Israel during raid

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An image grab from footage distributed by the Doha-based Al Jazeera TV shows a reporter reacting (right) as the channel’s veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is seen on the ground after being shot in the face in Jenin in the occupied West Bank on May 11, 2022. (Photos: AFP)
JENIN, Palestinian Territories — Calls mounted Wednesday for an independent investigation into the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead as she covered an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank.اضافة اعلان

The EU urged an “independent” investigation into her death, while the US’ envoy to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called for the killing to be “transparently investigated”.

Mujahed Al-Saadi, cameraman of Palestine Today, TV cries as he escorts the body of veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh with other journalists. 

The office of the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said it was “appalled”, and also called for “an independent, transparent investigation”.

Asked about Israel’s openness to an international investigation, army spokesman Amnon Shefler said the military’s internal investigative systems were “robust” and that it would conduct its own probe.

Shefler told reporters that Israel “would never deliberately target non-combatants,” calling Abu Akleh’s death “a tragedy that should not have occurred”.

Israel has however publicly offered to participate in a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

According to Al Jazeera, The spokesman of the PA, Ibrahim Milhim, said his government rejects any role for Israel in an investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing.

“Let me ask, when does the criminal have the right to take part in the investigation against his victim?” Milhim told Al Jazeera.

“We reject and refuse the participation of any Israelis in this kind of investigation. They have to be taken to the International Court. We call on the ICJ to open an investigation into the killing of Shireen and other crimes committed against the Palestinians.”

Milhim also urged the international community to stop the double standards when it comes to the Palestinian cause and the Israeli crimes.

The Israeli army released a video showing Palestinian gunfire in the Jenin camp early Wednesday, but not in the precise spot where Abu Akleh was killed, according to AFP.

An AFP photographer reported that Israeli forces were firing in the area, and that he then saw Abu Akleh’s body lying on the ground, with no Palestinian gunmen visible at the time.

Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), all condemned the killing of Abu Akleh.

“The killing of veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is a bloody reminder of the deadly system in which Israel locks Palestinians,” said Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, as carried by Al Jazeera.

“We are shocked and strongly condemn the killing of the prominent Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank while doing her job and while clearly identified as a journalist,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour.

“We call for an immediate and thorough investigation into her killing. Journalists must be able to do their jobs safely and freely without being a target,” he added.

Meanwhile, Christophe Deloire, secretary-general and director-general of RSF, wrote on Twitter that the killing of Abu Akleh “constitutes a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions that mandate the protection of civilians, and of UN Security Council Resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists”. RSF  also called for an independent international investigation.

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