Journalist killed by gunfire in Israel

By Laney Konz, Guest Writer

Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist, was killed by what was reported as “unintentional  gunfire.” She was wearing a press vest during the incident and was reporting from Israeli territory. 

Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist for Al Jazeera, was killed on May 11, 2022, while reporting on a morning military raid taking place at the Jenin refugee camp in Palestine. Abu Akleh and other journalists wore protective gear —which consisted of a helmet and a blue vest painted with large, white letters spelling “PRESS” —they were fired at by an Israeli army convoy standing 200 meters away.

Abu Akleh and Ali al-Samoudi, an Al Jazeera producer from Jenin, were both injured. Samoudi was shot in the back while running from the gunfire, while Abu Akleh died upon receiving a fatal shot to the head.

Photo courtesy of

This encounter has stirred  much international controversy, raising concerns regarding the safety of journalists reporting events with military involvement. 

Since 2000, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate has reported that at least 46 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

Initially, Israeli government officials claimed that Abu Akleh was likely killed by armed Palestinians. Palestinian officials claimted the only Palestinian soldiers nearby were on the other side of the convoy, nearly 300 meters away, and the journalists and Palestinian militants were separated by buildings. some, witnesses claim there was no gunfire until after the first shots were fired at the journalists reporting the raid.

After the shooting, Israel requested to open a joint investigation with the Palestinian government. The Palestinian Authority declined to join or relinquish the bullet that killed Abu Akleh to Israel for ballistic analysis. Israeli representatives also extended an invitation to the U.S. to join this investigation.

Palestinian authorities turned down the offer, accusing Israeli militants of targeting Abu Akleh and claiming that the investigation could not be trusted if they were conducting it themselves. This allegation is rooted in the fact that Abu Akleh was well-known for her Palestine centric news coverage; with 25 years of experience, Al Jazeera and the Palestinian Authority believe the shot was intentional.

Palestine sought to conduct a “pure, professional investigation,” and avoid a lengthy investigative period, according to a spokesperson for President Mahmoud Abbas.

Al Jazeera Media Network also holds the Israeli militants at fault for the death of its reporter.

“(They demand) that an independent international body investigates the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh to achieve justice for her, her family, and fellow journalists around the world,” a public announcement read.

Palestinian officials urged independent parties to conduct their own investigations, specifically requesting an investigation from the U.S. While U.S. government officials “strongly” condemned the incident leading to the death of Abu Akleh, state department spokesperson Ned Price reported that the U.S. has dismissed the request. He concluded that Israel had the “wherewithal and the capabilities to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation,” though 57 House Democrats called for an FBI investigation into the matter.

Some groups, including Amnesty International, have condemned the death.

“Israeli authorities must end unlawful killings, willful injury, arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, persecution and collective punishment against Palestinians, including many children,“ Amnesty International said in a statement.

After the Israeli investigation was published, the U.S. released a statement that Abu Akleh was likely killed by “unintentional” gunfire from Israel. Other independent investigations, carried out by the United Nations, CNN and the Associated Press, support this conclusion.