Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed in Jenin, Israeli and Palestinian officials exchange accusations

JENIN, West Bank — As a result of the crises and clashes between Israelis and Palestinians which began a month ago at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, tensions have escalated significantly. Israeli forces entered the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin, raiding several homes.

During these operations, armed clashes broke out between the Israeli Army and armed Palestinians. In the area of the clashes, Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper and killed. A number of other journalists were injured during their coverage of the clashes. Video footage posted to social media shows that efforts to recover Abu Akleh were hampered by continued Israeli sniper fire. 

A civilian man tries to recover the body of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed in Jenin, West Bank on 11 May 2022.

The killing of Abu Akleh unleashed a wave of criticism and mutual accusations between Israelis and Palestinians, which risks further escalation between the two sides.

Al-Jazeera published a statement holding the Israeli military responsible for the killing of Abu Akleh and accusing the Israeli side of intentionally targeting journalists 

Israeli political and military officials denied the accusations, blaming Abu Akleh’s death on armed Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett claimed via Twitter that accusations were being made against Israeli forces without solid evidence and the shooter could have been Palestinian. Naftali’s tweet included a video of an armed Palistian firing down an alleyway near where Abu Akleh was shot, claiming that the man in the video could be responsible. 

However, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories released a video showing it would have been impossible for the video shared by Naftali to depict the accidental shooting of Abu Akleh by Palestinians.

The Israeli government has called on the Palestinian Authority to conduct a joint investigation and an examination of Abu Akleh’s body to uncover the circumstance of her death. The Palestinian Authority has so far refused to be a part of a joint investigation.

The United States and British embassies in Jerusalem denounced the murder of Abu Akleh, who comes from a Christian family and holds American citizenship. The embassies have called for a thorough investigation to be conducted.