Veteran journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, from the Al Jazeera channel, died when she was shot on Wednesday (11) while covering an Israeli army operation in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin, in the West Bank.
The Qatar-based channel said the 61-year-old reporter was murdered “deliberately and in cold blood” by Israeli forces, but Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the correspondent was “probably” killed by Israeli forces. Palestinian shots.
Abu Aqleh, a Palestinian Christian who also held American citizenship, was a leading figure in the Arabic-language broadcaster’s service.
Another Al Jazeera journalist, producer Ali Al Samudi, was injured in the same incident.
An AFP photographer at the scene said Abu Aqleh was wearing a press vest when she was shot. He said Israeli forces were firing in the area and that he saw the body of the Al Jazeera reporter on the ground.
The Israeli army confirmed that an operation was under way during the morning in the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of Palestinian armed groups in the north of the occupied West Bank, but denied shooting at journalists.
The army cited an exchange of fire between suspects and security forces. He also stated that he is “investigating the fact and the possibility that the journalists were attacked by armed Palestinians”.
“(The army) certainly does not attack journalists,” an Israeli military commander told AFP.
Al Jazeera called on the international community to hold Israel responsible for the “intentional” death of the correspondent.
“In a flagrant assassination that violates international law and norms, the Israeli occupation forces murdered in cold blood the Al Jazeera correspondent in the Palestinian territories,” the channel said.
– Palestinian shots? –
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the country wanted to participate in the “investigation into the sad death of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh”.
“Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we have a responsibility to get to the truth,” he added.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides tweeted that he is “very saddened by the death of American and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh” and called for “a full investigation into the circumstances of her death”.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said armed Palestinians in the Jenin camp were “probably” responsible for the reporter’s death.
“From the information we have gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians, who opened fire without discernment, are responsible for the journalist’s unfortunate death,” Bennett said in a statement.
The injured Al Jazeera producer, Samudi, said there were no armed Palestinians in the area at the time of Abu Aqleh’s death.
The journalist’s death came almost a year after an Israeli air strike destroyed the building in Gaza where the offices of Al Jazeera and the AP news agency were located.
Israel said at the time that the tower housed offices of senior members of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, territory under Israeli blockade.
The journalist’s death came at a time of great tension between Israelis and Palestinians. Since March 22, Israel has been the target of several attacks, which have claimed the lives of at least 18 people.
Two attacks were carried out by Israeli Arabs and four of them by Palestinians, including three youths from Jenin, where the Israeli army has intensified operations in recent weeks.
Qatari Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater said on Twitter that the correspondent was shot in the face and called the act “Israeli state terrorism”.
The Palestinian Authority called the journalist’s death an “execution” and part of the Israeli effort to hide the “truth” of its occupation of the West Bank.
A source from the group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said the death was a “premeditated murder”.