A veteran Palestinian-American correspondent for Al Jazeera has been killed while covering a raid by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. The Qatar-based network said Shireen Abu Aqla was shot “deliberately” and “in cold blood” by Israeli troops in Jenin. Her producer was also wounded.
Israel’s prime minister said it was “likely” they were shot by Palestinian gunmen during an exchange of fire. But his military chief said it was not yet able to determine what happened.
The Palestinian president said he held the Israeli government fully responsible for what he described as a “crime of execution”.
Shireen Abu Aqla, 51, was widely known and widely admired – by viewers and colleagues alike.
Early on Wednesday morning she went to the Jenin refugee camp to report on a raid by Israeli soldiers and security forces, which the Israeli military said was conducted to apprehend “terrorist suspects”. “During the activity, tens of Palestinian gunmen fired at and hurled explosive devices toward the soldiers. The soldiers responded with fire toward the gunmen and hits were identified,” a military statement said.
The Palestinian health ministry said Abu Aqla was hit in the head by a live bullet during the raid. She was taken to hospital in a critical condition and later pronounced dead. Another Palestinian journalist, Al Jazeera producer Ali Samoudi, was shot in the back and was in a stable condition in hospital, the health ministry added.
“We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming,” Al Jazeera cited Mr Samoudi as saying. “The first bullet hit me, and the second bullet hit Shireen. “There was no Palestinian military resistance at all at the scene,” he added.
Video of the shooting showed Abu Aqla was wearing a blue flak jacket clearly marked with the word “press”, as well as a helmet.