‘Blatant murder’ – Al Jazeera sues Israel at ICC over Abu Akleh death

The Qatar-based site also claimed that the May 2021 bombing of its offices in the Gaza Strip prove an Israeli government agenda to “silence” the news agency.

By World Israel News Staff

The Al Jazeera news network filed a criminal complaint against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday, alleging that the shooting death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was a “blatant murder” and a “heinous crime.”

The site also claimed that the May 2021 bombing of its offices in the Gaza Strip prove an Israeli government agenda to “silence” the news agency.

Abu Akleh was shot in Jenin while covering clashes between Palestinian terrorists and IDF troops in the flashpoint city.

Although the bullet recovered from her body was so damaged that American and Israeli investigators initially said it was impossible to determine who had fired the fatal shot, Israel eventually said that it was likely Abu Akleh was shot accidentally by an IDF soldier.

However, that acknowledgement was not sufficient for the anti-Israel Al Jazeera, which claims that Abu Akleh was intentionally targeted by troops.

“The claim by the Israeli authorities that Shireen was killed by mistake in an exchange of fire is completely unfounded,” Al Jazeera said in a statement about the filing of the complaint at the ICC.

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“The evidence shows that this deliberate killing was part of a wider campaign to target and silence Al Jazeera.”

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid responded to the news of the lawsuit in a statement.

“No one will investigate IDF soldiers and no one will preach to us about morals in warfare, certainly not Al Jazeera,” he said.

In 2021, the ICC declared that it has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute alleged human rights abuses and war crimes in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria, a claim that Israel has fiercely disputed.

UK attorney Rodney Dixon, who is representing Al Jazeera at the Netherlands-based ICC, said that Israeli soldiers should face criminal charges for the slaying. He also claimed that Al Jazeera has been singled out for suppression by Israel.

“It’s not a single incident, it’s a killing that is part of a wider pattern that the prosecution should be investigating to identify those who are responsible for the killing, and to bring charges against them,” he said.

“The focus is on Shireen, and this particular killing, this outrageous killing. But the evidence we submit looks at all of the acts against Al Jazeera because it has been targeted as an international media organization.

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“And the evidence shows that what the [Israeli] authorities are trying to do is to shut it up,” he added.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz also commented on the lawsuit.

“I expressed my condolences following the passing of Shireen Abu Akleh. At the same time, we must remember that this was a combat scenario, which was investigated thoroughly,” he said in a statement.

“I suggest that [international] officials and Al Jazeera representatives go investigate what is happening to reporters in Iran and nearby regions where Al Jazeera operates.

“There is no other military that operates under the moral standards of the IDF, and I would like to emphasize my full support and that of the entire defense establishment, to the commanders and soldiers who are defending the citizens of Israel.”

In November 2022, the FBI announced that it would launch a probe into Abu Akleh’s death, because she was an American citizen. That move immediately sparked outrage among Israeli officials, who said they would refuse to cooperate with the investigation, which they said is a violation of Israel’s national sovereignty.