Palestinian news correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was killed by gunfire while reporting for Al Jazeera during the Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, announced the Palestinian Ministry of Health on 11 May.
Al Jazeera reports that Abu Akleh was rushed to a hospital in critical condition after the bullet struck her head, where she was later declared dead. Abu Akleh was wearing a press vest when she was shot.
“We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming,” reported Ali Samoudi to Al Jazeera, a colleague of Abu Akleh who was also shot in the back during the raid.
“The first bullet hit me and the second bullet hit Shireen…there was no Palestinian military resistance at all at the scene,” said Samoudi.
The news of Abu Akleh’s death comes in light of the large-scale Israeli raid on the city of Jenin, located on the West Bank. On 9 April, Israeli forces launched a raid on a refugee camp located in Jenin after attacks on Tel Aviv were identified to have originated from Jenin.
The month-long conflict in Jenin, a city considered by Palestinians as a symbol of resistance, continues to escalate as Palestinians residing in the refugee camps retaliate against the Israeli raid.
In an official statement, Al Jazeera condemned the murder of Abu Akleh, calling it a violation of international laws and norms. The news network also held Israel responsible for the death of Abu Akleh.
“Al Jazeera Media Network condemns this heinous crime, which intends to only prevent the media from conducting their duty. Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen. It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their intentional targeting and killing of Shireen,” the statement read.
The Israel Defense Forces have denied responsibility for Abu Akleh’s death, instead opting to investigate the possibility of Palestinian gunmen being at the scene.
In a tweet, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, while describing the event as ‘sad’, offered to conduct a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority regarding the murder of Abu Akleh.
Abu Akleh leaves behind a legacy of bringing the Palestinian cause to countless households as a prominent reporter in the region for over two decades.
Longtime viewers of Abu Akleh’s correspondence took their grief to social media to express the impact Abu Akleh had on their childhood. One tweet, by Nadi Abusaada, an Arab architect and historian, expressed how Abu Akleh was “an icon for all of us who grew up watching her every day on TV.”