Eyewitnesses refute Israeli claims of ‘lack of clarity’ in Aljazeera reporters’ death
Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist and Aljazeera reporter, was given an official funeral on Thursday at the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in Ramallah.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said at the funeral, which was attended by thousands of Palestinians, that the PA would not accept a joint investigation into Abu Akleh’s death, reiterating Palestine’s demand for an international, independent investigation.
Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in the Jenin refugee camp.
Shortly after her death was confirmed at Jenin’s Ibn Sina hospital, Palestinians in Jenin held a popular funeral, with Jenin gunmen carrying her body through the city’s streets, accompanied by hundreds of Jenin residents who chanted slogans and raised the Palestinian flag.
Shireen Abu Akleh’s body was then received in a secondary funeral procession at the Nablus University Hospital, which was accompanied by a Palestinian security forces guard of honour. A crowd of Palestinians greeted the body in front of Aljazeera’s Ramallah offices later that afternoon, launching a spontaneous march.
In his initial reaction to the news, Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennett stated that “armed Palestinians – who were indiscriminately firing at the time – appear to be responsible.” Bennett also stated that Israel has offered to participate in a joint Palestinian-Israeli investigation into the death of Abu Akleh.
“Shireen was in an open spot at the edge of the refugee camp, clearly visible from a distance, with Israeli soldiers located about 100 meters closer to the camp’s interior,” he said.
Shatha Hanayshah, a young Palestinian journalist based in Jenin, was with Abu Akleh when she was shot.
Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization, published the findings of its initial field investigation into the events in Jenin on Wednesday morning on Thursday.
“The journalists walked down the Jenin- Burqin street heading west towards a byroad where the IOF [Israeli Occupation Forces] were deployed, and were soon directly facing the IOF vehicles, without any barriers obstructing the vision of the IOF situated to their south,” the report read.
“The journalists stopped for a while to allow the IOF to identify them with their clearly marking “PRESS’ vests, and slowly approached the IOF from the north. This is when the journalists were fired at from the south, where the IOF were situated,” it said.
The UN condemned Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder on Wednesday, saying it was “appalled” by her death and calling for “an independent, transparent investigation into her death.”