Jun 24, 2022 - World

Israeli soldiers killed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, UN says

A Palestinian student holds a picture of Shireen Abu Akleh during a protest condemning her murder in Nablus in the occupied West Bank. Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by shots fired by Israeli soldiers on May 11, the UN human rights body said Friday after concluding its independent investigation into the incident.

Driving the news: "All information we have gathered … is consistent with the finding that the shots that killed Abu Akleh ... came from Israeli security forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

  • "We have found no information suggesting that there was activity by armed Palestinians in the immediate vicinity of the journalists," Shamdasani added.
  • "Several single, seemingly well-aimed bullets were fired towards them [the journalists] from the direction of the Israeli security forces."

The big picture: The 51-year-old veteran Al Jazeera journalist's death sparked outrage across the Middle East and beyond.

  • Palestinians, witnesses and Al Jazeera have said the Israeli military shot and killed Abu Akleh, who wore a helmet and a bulletproof vest marked "press." Another journalist was injured.
  • After initially claiming Abu Akleh was probably killed by Palestinian gunfire, Israel backtracked, saying it was impossible to know from whose fire she was hit without examining the piece of the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, which the Palestinian Authority holds.

State of play: The UN's investigation is the latest to conclude that Palestinian militants were not in the vicinity of the location where Abu Akleh was killed. Citing interviews, as well as visual and audio evidence, investigations by the Washington Post, AP and the New York Times have drawn similar conclusions.

  • Palestinian officials and Al Jazeera have accused Israel of deliberately shooting Abu Akleh — an allegation Israel called a "blatant lie."
  • The UN's high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, has called on Israel to conduct an investigation.
  • The Biden administration has also called for a thorough investigation and accountability.
  • The Palestinian Authority has said it submitted the case to the International Criminal Court.

What they're saying: "More than six weeks after the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and injury of her colleague Ali Samoudi in Jenin on 11 May 2022, it is deeply disturbing that Israeli authorities have not conducted a criminal investigation," the UN human rights office said.

  • "Perpetrators must be held to account."
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