An Al Jazeera reporter was killed by Israeli army gunfire in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the Qatar-based news channel said.
According to Al Jazeera, Shireen Abu Aqleh was hit by a live bullet, while videos of the incident showed that Abu Aqleh was shot in the head.
One Palestinian official said she had been “assassinated” by Israeli forces while reporting on a raid in the city of Jenin, which has seen intensified army raids in recent weeks as violence has surged.
The Palestinian health ministry has confirmed Abu Aqleh’s death and said a second reporter, Ali Samodi, who works for the Jerusalem-based Quds newspaper, had been wounded.
However, in a statement, the Israeli military claimed its troops had shot back after coming under “massive fire” in Jenin and that “there is a possibility, now being looked into, that reporters were hit — possibly by shots fired by Palestinian gunmen”.
Meanwhile, a journalist working with Aqleh, Nida Ibrahim, said Aqleh was a “very well respected journalist” who had been working with Al Jazeera since the beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000. “As you can imagine, this is a shock to the journalists who have been working with her.”
Immediately after the news was reported, human rights activists, fellow journalists and politicians took to Twitter condemning the incident and expressing their condolences.
Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom Husam Zomlot said Aqleh was the “most prominent Palestinian journalist and a close friend”.
Palestinian American activist Huwaida Arraf demanded the Israel should be held accountable.
TV anchor Hamid Mir also demanded justice for the slain journalist.
AJ+ journalist Sana Saeed wrote Israel “had long targeted press and not been held accountable”.
Meanwhile, documentary filmmaker Sakir Khader claimed Aqleh was “murdered in cold blood by an Israeli soldier”.
Senior producer at AJ+ Dena Takruri, said that the eyewitness who was standing right by the Al Jazeera journalist described that an Israeli sniper directly targeted her. “This was a shot of extreme precision.”
Condemning the incident, Vice News’ Hind Hassan emphasised that journalism was not a crime.