The media outlet Al Jazeera accused Israeli forces of "deliberately targeting and killing our colleague" on Wednesday after Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot in the face while covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
In a statement, the Al Jazeera Media Network said that Abu Akleh—who worked as the publication's Palestine correspondent—was wearing a press jacket that clearly identified her as a journalist when Israeli forces shot her "with live fire."
Al Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, called the attack "a blatant murder," saying Abu Akleh, 51, was "assassinated in cold blood."
The statement continued:
Al Jazeera Media Network condemns this heinous crime, which intends to only prevent the media from conducting their duty. Al Jazeera holds the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of Shireen. It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their intentional targeting and killing of Shireen.
The Israeli authorities are also responsible for the targeting of Al Jazeera producer Ali al-Samudi, who was also shot in the back while covering the same event, and he is currently undergoing treatment.
Al Jazeera extends its sincere condolences to the family of Shireen in Palestine, and to her extended family around the world, and we pledge to prosecute the perpetrators legally, no matter how hard they try to cover up their crime, and bring them to justice.
Footage from the scene shows the moments after Abu Akleh was shot.
(Warning: The video is disturbing)
Footage shows the moments of Al Jazeera’s senior reporter Shireen Abu Aqla’s death.— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) May 11, 2022
In appearance, Israeli footage that says there was a Palestinian cross fire doesn’t fit with this location.
She is also wearing a helmet and body armour. pic.twitter.com/fYCMQqxlxf
The Israeli government swiftly denied responsibility for killing Abu Akleh and wounding al-Samudi, claiming that they may have been shot by "Palestinian gunmen."
"There is a considerable chance that armed Palestinians, who fired wildly, were the ones who brought about the journalist's unfortunate death," said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
But al-Samudi, speaking to the Associated Press following the incident, dismissed the Israeli government's narrative as a "complete lie."
"He said they were all wearing protective gear that clearly marked them as reporters, and they passed by Israeli troops so the soldiers would know that they were there," AP reported.
BREAKING: The Israeli military backtracks from its initial claim that Abu Akleh might have been shot by Palestinian gunmen. The IDF chief of staff General Kokhavi said in a statement that “at the moment it is not possible to determine from which fire Abu Akleh was killed”— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) May 11, 2022
"He said a first shot missed them, then a second struck him, and a third killed Abu Akleh. He said there were no militants or other civilians in the area—only the reporters and the army."