Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed by Israeli forces outside of Jenin. A second reporter Ali Samoodi was shot and wounded.
Samoodi, who was near Abu Akleh when she was murdered, reported they came under fire from Israeli occupation forces without warning. “They didn’t ask us to leave and they didn’t ask us to stop (filming). They fired at us. One bullet hit me and another hit Shireen. They killed her in cold blood,” he said.
In videos showing the moments after Abu Akleh was shot, both Abu Akleh and a second journalist are wearing internationally recognized bulletproof vests marked “PRESS.” The video also shows the gunmen continuing to fire on the journalists after Akleh was shot.
Warning: Graphic video
Clearly depicts continued Israeli firing after Shireen Abu Akleh went down. Screams of “Ambulance”. One man tries to retrieve Shireen, others scream at him to move back from Israeli sniper range.
— لينة (@LinahAlsaafin) May 11, 2022
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett disputed the narrative. In a tweet, he claimed Abu Akleh was killed by Palestinians and added a video of a battle as proof. “According to the data we have at the moment, there is a good chance that armed Palestinians, who fired wildly, are the ones who led to the unfortunate death of the journalist,” the Israeli leader’s statement said.
יו"ר הרשות מטיח בישראל האשמות ללא בסיס מוצק.
על פי הנתונים שבידינו כרגע, יש סיכוי לא מבוטל שפלסטינים חמושים, שירו באופן פרוע, הם שהביאו למותה המצער של העיתונאית.
הפלסטינים אף תועדו אומרים "פגענו בחייל, הוא שכוב על האדמה". אף חייל לא נפגע, מה שמעלה את האפשרות כי הם ירו ופגעו >> pic.twitter.com/tSicP5Ezvl
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) May 11, 2022
However, the prime minister’s narrative was quickly disputed by the Israeli human rights monitoring group B’tselem. B’tselem concluded, “documentation of Palestinian gunfire distributed by Israeli military cannot be the gunfire that killed Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.”
— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) May 11, 2022
The Israeli government is now backing off the claim Abu Akleh was killed by Palestinian gunfire. “At the moment it is not possible to determine from which fire Abu Akleh was killed,” said IDF chief of staff General Aviv Kokhavi.
Abu Akleh was a Palestinian-American journalist who has covered the occupation for Al-Jazeera since 1997. She was a household name in Palestine, described as a trailblazer and role model. Al-Jazeera is describing her murder as an “assassination in cold blood.”
After she was killed, Palestinians gathered at her home to mourn in Jerusalem. Mairav Zonszein reports that Israeli police arrived at her residence and demanded a Palestinian flag be removed.
Israel police went to Shireen Abu Akleh’s home to ask they take down Palestinian flags hung outside. Yes, that’s right. https://t.co/fwNWxzo5x8
— Mairav Zonszein מרב זונשיין (@MairavZ) May 11, 2022