An Al Jazeera journalist has been shot dead by Israeli forces while covering a raid in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin, her broadcaster said.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a well-known Palestinian female reporter was shot in the head by a live bullet in Jenin. A second journalist, Ali Al Samudi, was also shot and is in a stable condition, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
Al Jazeera has accused Israeli security forces of deliberately targeting and killing Abu Akleh and called on the international community to condemn and hold Israel accountable.
The Israel Defense Forces said its security forces had been operating in the area “to arrest suspects in terrorist activities,” and both Palestinian suspects and Israeli forces were firing at the time.
“As part of the activity in the Jenin refugee camp, suspects fired heavily at the force and threw explosives. The force responded by firing. Hits were detected,” the IDF said.
“The possibility that journalists were hit, possibly by Palestinian gunfire, is being investigated. The event is being examined” the IDF added.
Al Jazeera journalist, Al-Samudi, who was with Abu Akleh when she was killed, said there were no Palestinian gunmen in the area at the time. “The Israeli army shot us,” said Al-Samudi who was also shot. “There was no Palestinian gunman in the place.”
In response to the shooting, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Twitter his government had offered to conduct a joint Israeli-Palestinian investigation, adding: “Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth.”
Health ministry officials said the Al-Quds journalist Ali Samoudi, who is also Palestinian, was hit in the back by a bullet but has been reported to be in a stable condition.
Abu Akleh, 51, was born in Jerusalem. She began working for Al Jazeera in 1997 and regularly reported on-camera from across the Palestinian territories.