A journalist was killed on Wednesday during a shooting between Israeli forces and Palestinians in Jenin, leading to controversy about the shooter and the circumstances surrounding her death.
Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed during a counterterrorism raid in response to recent terror attacks in Israel. Her network reported that she was killed by a bullet to the face. The outlet also noted a second journalist named Ali al-Samoudi was wounded.
Palestinian sources claim Abu Akleh as s struck by Israeli forces, though Israeli Defense Forces are investigating and have stated it is too early to tell who struck the reporter during the firefight that included the use of explosives by Palestinians.
“The Palestinian Authority rushed to blame Israel for her death, and the president of the PA made unfounded accusations against Israel before any investigation had been carried out,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.
“We have information indicating she may have been shot by the Palestinian gunmen who were shooting indiscriminately,” he added.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz added that “IDF troops would never intentionally harm members of the press, and any attempt to imply otherwise is baseless.”
“Preliminary findings from the investigation conducted by the IDF in the last several hours indicate that no gunfire was directed at the journalist – however the investigation is ongoing. On the other hand, we have seen footage of indiscriminate shooting by Palestinian terrorists, which is likely to have hit the journalist.”
A joint investigation has been offered, but Palestinian leaders have reportedly refused to agree.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides said he was “sad to learn of the death of American and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.” He added in a Twitter post, “I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin.”