Although the Palestinian Health Ministry was careful not to say who shot Abu Akleh, Al Jazeera swiftly blamed Israel.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed in Jenin on Wednesday morning during a firefight between Israeli security forces and terrorists in the city.
Although Abu Akleh, 51, was wearing a helmet, a video from the scene showed that she was struck near her ear, in an exposed area not protected by the helmet.
Ali Samoudi, a journalist for Palestinian daily Quds, was also shot in the incident, but he survived and is reportedly hospitalized in stable condition.
In recent weeks, Israel security forces have stepped up raids and arrests in Jenin, a hotbed for terrorism.
The terrorists who committed the Tel Aviv shooting that left three people dead, the Bnei Brak shooting that killed five, and the brutal Independence Day axe murderers in Elad all came from Jenin or nearby villages.
Notably, the Palestinian Ministry of Health did not publicly state who was responsible for the journalist’s shooting. In a laconic statement, the Ministry said that she was struck during a period when IDF troops had clashed with locals in Jenin but did not say that the gunfire came from Israeli security forces.
However, Abu Akleh’s employer, Al Jazeera, swiftly attributed blame to Israel — even while acknowledging that the Palestinian Ministry of Health did not say Israel was responsible.
Al Jazeera charged that the “heinous crime,” which was carried out in “cold blood,” was an intentional assassination and that Israeli forces deliberately killed Abu Akleh in order to silence her.
The Qatari-owned outlet called for “the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable.”
“According to the data we have at the moment, there is a good chance that armed Palestinians, who fired wildly, are the ones who led to the unfortunate death of the journalist,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
“The Palestinians were even documented saying, ‘We hit a soldier, he is lying on the ground.’ No soldier was injured, which raises the possibility that they shot and hit a journalist.
“IDF forces will continue to act against the terrorists at their bases, in order to break the deadly wave of terrorism and restore security to the citizens of Israel.”
In a statement, the Israeli army said it would investigate the incident and was “looking into the possibility that journalists were injured, potentially by Palestinian gunfire.”
Israeli military spokesperson Ran Kochav told Army Radio that “even if soldiers shot at — or, God forbid, hurt — someone who was not fighting, this happened during a battle, during a firefight, where [Abu Akleh] was with the shooters. So these kinds of things can happen.”
Kochav noted that while Abu Akleh’s death was tragic, she was “filming and working for a media outlet amidst armed Palestinians.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that Israel had “offered the Palestinians a joint pathological investigation into the sad death of journalist Shireen Abu Aqla. Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth.”
Some Twitter users shared a video from Wednesday morning of armed terrorists in Jenin exclaiming that they had shot an IDF soldier. No IDF soldiers were shot in the operation, and the users said that the video was proof that Abu Akleh was shot by Palestinians.
The Islamist coalition kingmaker party Ra’am cancelled a scheduled press conference Wednesday morning in the wake of the shooting.
Ra’am has currently suspended ties with the coalition over ongoing clashes on the Temple Mount and was slated to announce today whether it would abstain from a no-confidence vote which could potentially dissolve the current government.