100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
Calls mount for probe into reporter's killing during Israeli raid
Jenin (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Calls mounted Wednesday for an independent investigation into the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist…
Al Jazeera journalist killed while covering Israeli raid in West Bank
Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American who was among the network's most prominent figures, was shot dead…
Al Jazeera journalist shot dead during Israel West Bank raid
Jenin (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a respected veteran of the Al Jazeera network, was shot…
Palestinian American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed during West Bank clashes
Israeli and Palestinian officials gave disputing accounts of her death.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Al Jazeera journalist killed during Israeli raid in West Bank
A prominent Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter was shot dead during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday,…
Calls grow for independent investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing
The UN calls for ‘independent investigation’ after Al Jazeera says Shireen Abu Akleh was ‘assassinated in cold blood’.
Get all your news in one place
Latest National news:
Australia news live update: China breaks diplomatic freeze with message to Albanese; Bragg blames Liberal loss on ‘confected culture war’
Follow all the day’s developments
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Bungendore divided over high school as NSW govt takes ownership of land
Bungendore High School is a step closer to reality, but residents are split on the location the NSW government has…
Jets coach Ash Wilson keen to strengthen A-League Women's side in all areas
She is searching locally and abroad.
'Our fair share': ACT to push Labor for light rail support
ACT Labor is banking on a quicker Commonwealth Park to Woden rollout under federal Labor.
Australians woke up to Scott Morrison and didn’t just move the goalposts – they dragged them off the paddock
Voters wanted more action on climate change, having seen first hand the impact of fire, drought, flood and ocean surges…
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
Can't sow, can't grow: 'Relentless' rain hurting Hunter farmers
Matthew Dennis runs Nebo farm in East Maitland and said he is down a minimum of 70 per cent in…
Zero evidence to back Clive Palmer’s claim of staff taking ballots home, AEC says
United Australia party prepares legal challenge in one seat after candidate allegedly follows and records electoral officers

The ‘voice of Palestine’ gunned down: How Shireen Abu Akleh fell victim to the conflict she covered

By Borzou Daragahi
Reuters

She covered the most persistently important story of the Arab world for the most widely watched channel in the Middle East.

On Wednesday morning, Shireen Abu Akleh fell victim to the very same conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that she had been chronicling for Al Jazeera, shot dead under still-murky circumstances as Israeli soldiers conducted a raid on the West Bank town of Jenin.

The death of the 51-year-old, Jerusalem-born Palestinian American is already sending shockwaves in Israel, the Middle East and across the world, and will likely draw more attention to the unsettled and lingering conflict at a time when it has receded from view.

Over the past quarter-century, Abu Akleh became a regular presence in homes, cafes and offices across the Arab world, as well as more broadly through Al Jazeera’s English-language channel, the globe.

“She was definitely the voice of Palestine in every Arab home,” one international journalist said in an interview.

Her death by a gunshot to the head Jenin is already complicating an ongoing political crisis in Israel, and has prompted calls for answers by the United Kingdom and the United States.

“I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin,” Tom Nides, the US ambassador to Israel, wrote in a tweet.

The news of the killing prompted Israel’s United Arab List to delay an announcement on whether it would remain part of Israel’s governing coalition or allow it to lose its slim majority. Palestinian leaders, Al Jazeera, Qatar, where the broadcaster is headquartered and NGOs, have all blamed Israel for the killing, though Israel insists that Palestinian gunmen likely shot Abu Akleh.

The veteran journalist, known for her cool demeanour and professionalism, and her team were setting up to cover live, ongoing Israeli raids on Jenin when one of her colleagues, Ali al-Samudi, was suddenly shot in the shoulder, according to accounts collected by Palestinian journalists.

“There were no clashes at the moment,” said Mohammed Daraghmeh,

Palestine-based bureau chief for Asharq, a United Arab Emirates news outlet, said: “Ali fell and he was shot again in the back. At this moment Shireen was screaming, ‘Ali was shot! Ali was shot!’”

Heavier shooting then erupted. Video posted to social media showed panicked journalists screaming for help as automatic weapon fire sounded in the distance. “Another journalist who was next to her told me that lots of gunfire had come to the scene, and Shireen fell,” Mr Daraghmeh recounted. “He tried to reach for her but she wasn’t moving.”

Video showed what was said to be Abu Akleh’s lifeless body lying on the ground. Journalists covering the raid began screaming for ambulances.  The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed Shireen Abu Akleh was hit in the head by gunfire. Mr Samudi remains in stable condition.

Israeli forces said they were met by massive gunfire and explosives during the raid and responded by opening fire. "It appears likely that armed Palestinians, who were firing indiscriminately at the time, were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.

But both Palestinian officials and Al Jazeera have blamed Israel for shooting the journalists, who wore blue helmets and body armour denoting them as members of the press.

“It’s clear they were shot from the Israeli soldiers’ side,” said Mr Daraghme. “There was no threat of any kind to soldiers. There was no crossfire, and they were away from the soldiers.”

Al Jazeera called the killing “blatant murder, violating international laws and norms” and accused Israeli forces of having “assassinated” Abu Akleh “in cold blood.” It called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for the death

“Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen,” it said in a statement.

Israel’s foreign ministry released video footage showing what it described as Palestinian gunmen in Jenin announcing they had shot an Israeli soldier, but noted that no Israeli soldiers had been shot during Wednesday’s encounter in Jenin. Israel has called for a joint investigation into the death, welcoming a joint autopsy to identify the round that killed her.

Palestinian journalists mourn near the body of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh (EPA)

“There are indications that Ms Abu Akleh was killed by Palestinian terrorist fire,” the foreign ministry statement said. “Israel will be conducting a thorough investigation. We call on the Palestinian Authority to cooperate with said investigation to get to the truth.”

Mr Daraghmeh, who was a close friend and colleague of Abu Akleh, described her as zealously committed to her work. A Palestinian Christian, Abu Akleh never married and leaves behind no children. After earning a degree in journalism from Jordan, she moved back to Jerusalem and got to work.

“I used to call her a nun who devoted her life to journalism and high values,” he said.

Her years-long coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for the most widely watched pan-Arab satellite channel, and its English-language affiliate, made her a brand name across the region.

During a trip to Sudan once, Mr Daraghmeh showed a picture of himself with Abu Akleh, and was told by young journalists and journalism teachers that she would be mobbed in the streets as a celebrity if she ever made it to Khartoum.

“Everyone in the Arab world who followed the Palestinian conflict would see her coverage,” he said.

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
Calls mount for probe into reporter's killing during Israeli raid
Jenin (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Calls mounted Wednesday for an independent investigation into the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist…
Al Jazeera journalist killed while covering Israeli raid in West Bank
Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American who was among the network's most prominent figures, was shot dead…
Al Jazeera journalist shot dead during Israel West Bank raid
Jenin (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a respected veteran of the Al Jazeera network, was shot…
Palestinian American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed during West Bank clashes
Israeli and Palestinian officials gave disputing accounts of her death.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Al Jazeera journalist killed during Israeli raid in West Bank
A prominent Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter was shot dead during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday,…
Calls grow for independent investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing
The UN calls for ‘independent investigation’ after Al Jazeera says Shireen Abu Akleh was ‘assassinated in cold blood’.
Get all your news in one place