Shireen Abu Akleh's family renews calls for justice in meeting with Blinken
The family of slain Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh met with Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Tuesday to renew their demands for justice and call on the U.S. to conduct an investigation that "leads to real accountability," the family said.
The big picture: Abu Akleh was killed in May while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank. She was wearing a bullet proof vest that was marked, "press."
- The Biden administration said earlier this month that Abu Akleh was likely killed by unintentional Israeli fire, but a ballistics test of the bullet fragment removed from her body was "inconclusive." Those findings were based on the U.S. security coordinator's review of both the Israeli and Palestinian investigations, as well as the ballistics test.
- Israeli and Palestinian officials separately protested the conclusions, and Abu Akleh's family sent a letter to President Biden rejecting the findings.
What they're saying: Speaking to Blinken in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Lina Abu Akleh, the veteran journalist's niece, said in a tweet that her family again requested a meeting with Biden after he didn't meet with them during his trip to Israel and the occupied West Bank earlier this month.
- "A meeting with him will demonstrate to our family that Shireen’s case is a priority for this administration," she added. "Since he didn’t meet with us in Jerusalem, we came to DC. We need him to hear from us directly."
- She also said Blinken "made some commitments on Shireen's killing," but the family is "still waiting to see if this administration will meaningfully answer our calls" for justice.
- "Nothing short of a U.S. investigation that leads to real accountability is acceptable, and we won’t stop until no other American or Palestinian family endures the same pain we have," she said, adding that Blinken "committed to transparency with our family going forward."
Blinken in a tweet later Tuesday said during the meeting with Abu Akleh's family he expressed his "deepest condolences and commitment to pursue accountability for her tragic killing."
Zoom out: Some Democrats have joined the calls for Biden to do more to ensure accountability for her death.
- Citing witnesses, as well as visual and audio evidence, independent investigations by news organizations including the Washington Post, AP and the New York Times determined the fatal shot was likely fired by an Israeli soldier.
- The UN's human rights body came to a similar conclusion.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with Blinken's tweet.