Al Jazeera journalist shot dead by Isreal Defence Forces fire in West Bank

#Israeli forces killed a Palestinian American journalist for the Al Jazeera news network in the West Bank early Wednesday, according to the network and the Palestinian Health Ministry. Israel said the journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, was killed in an exchange of gunfire and called for an investigation. #WhisperEyeNews #LatestNews

Abu Akleh, 51, a longtime Al Jazeera correspondent, was shot in the head while covering Israeli raids in the Jenin refugee camp, according to the network and the ministry. She was taken to a hospital before dying from her wounds.

In a statement, Al Jazeera accused Israeli forces of killing Abu Akleh “in cold blood” and said she had been “clearly wearing a press jacket that identifies her as a journalist.” Two journalists who were standing next to Abu Akleh said in interviews that the area had been relatively calm before she was shot.

It was dead quiet,” one of the journalists, Ali al-Samudi, who was also injured by gunfire, said in an interview from his hospital bed.

In a statement, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the shooting occurred while the Israel Defense Forces were conducting counterterrorism operations in Jenin, after a spate of deadly attacks over the past few weeks in Israeli cities. During the operation, he said, “armed Palestinians shot in an inaccurate, indiscriminate and uncontrolled manner.”

“Our forces from the IDF returned fire as accurately, carefully and responsibly as possible. Sadly, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in the exchange,” he said. “To uncover the truth, there must be a real investigation, and the Palestinians are currently preventing that. Without a serious investigation, we will not reach the truth.”

Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav, an IDF spokesperson, told Israel’s Army Radio that “all of the data indicate with a high degree of probability” that Abu Akleh was killed by Palestinian fire. “But I say that cautiously,” he added.

A senior Israeli official, in a statement sent to reporters, said that the army’s assessment was based on evidence that included video footage in which a gunman is heard saying in Arabic, “We hit a soldier, he’s on the ground.” The Israeli military said that no Israeli soldiers were injured during clashes in Jenin on Wednesday and that the Palestinians in the video may have been referring to Abu Akleh.

In a message posted on Twitter, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrote: “We have offered the Palestinians a joint pathological investigation into the sad death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Journalists must be protected in conflict zones, and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement that he “condemns the crime of the execution Shireen Abu Akleh” and holds Israel “fully responsible.”

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said in a message posted on Twitter: “Very sad to learn of the death of American and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem said “The United States encourages a swift, thorough, and transparent investigation into the circumstances of her death.”

“We understand the Israel Defense Forces have already stated that they will be investigating this incident. As we have said numerous times, the United States supports press freedoms and the protection of journalists in carrying out their work,” she said.

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