Veteran al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh was killed yesterday as she covered a raid on Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
Al-Jazeera said its journalist had been shot dead “deliberately” and “in cold blood” by Israeli troops.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said it was likely that Palestinian gunfire had killed the reporter.
Abu Aqleh, 51, a Palestinian Christian, was a prominent figure in the channel’s Arabic news service.
The Israeli army confirmed that it had conducted an operation in Jenin refugee camp early yesterday, but denied it had deliberately targeted a reporter.
“The [army] of course does not aim at journalists,” an official from the Israeli military said.
“In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine,” al-Jazeera said in a statement.
It called on the international community to hold the Israeli forces accountable for their “intentional targeting and killing” of the journalist.
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid said that Israel was seeking a “joint pathological investigation into the sad death of journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh.”
“Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth,” Lapid said.
Palestinian gunmen in the camp were likely responsible for Abu Aqleh’s death, he said.
“According to the information we’ve gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians — who were indiscriminately firing at the time — were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist,” Bennett said in a statement.
Another al-Jazeera journalist, producer Ali al-Samudi, was wounded in the incident, the broadcaster said.
The army said there was an exchange of fire between suspects and security forces, and that it was “investigating the event and looking into the possibility that journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen.”
Al-Samudi said that there were no Palestinian fighters in the area where Abu Aqleh was shot.
“If there were resistance fighters, we would not have gone into the area,” he said in testimony posted online, adding that the Israelis “fired towards us.”
A photographer at the scene said that Abu Aqleh was wearing a press flak jacket when she was shot.
The photographer reported that Israeli forces were firing in the area and then saw Abu Aqleh’s body lying on the ground.
The army said that during its operation in the camp, “massive fire was shot toward Israeli forces by tens of armed Palestinian gunmen.”
People in the camp “also hurled explosive devices toward the soldiers, endangering their lives,” it said. “The soldiers responded with fire toward the sources of the fire and explosive devices. Hits were identified.”
The Palestinian Authority called Abu Aqleh’s killing an “execution,” and part of an Israeli effort to obscure the “truth” about its occupation of the West Bank.
Hamas called the incident “a premeditated murder.”
Qatari Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Lolwah al-Khater said that Israeli troops had killed Abu Aqleh “by shooting her in the face” in what she called an act of “state sponsored Israeli terrorism.”
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