Reporter Killed in Israeli Raid Was U.S. Citizen; Ambassador Urges 'Thorough Investigation'

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides and the UN Delegation to the Palestinians called for an investigation into the death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Shireen Abu Akleh reporting from Jerusalem.
Shireen Abu Akleh reporting from Jerusalem.Credit: Al Jazeera Media Network via AP

Shireen Abu Akleh, an al Jazeera reporter killed on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin, was an American citizen, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said.

"Very sad to learn of the death of American and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh," Nides tweeted. "I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin."

The European Union Delegation to the Palestinians called for an independent investigation into the incident in order to "bring the perpetrators to justice."

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A U.S. embassy spokesperson in Jerusalem said Abu Akleh had covered issues in the Middle East and internationally for more than two decades and was "deeply respected by many Palestinians and others around the world".

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Abu Akleh, 51, was hit in the head by live fire. A second reporter, Ali Samodi, sustained a gunshot wound to the back and is in stable condition, the Health Ministry said.

Al Jazeera's office in Jerusalem said that Abu Akleh will be laid to rest on Thursday in Jerusalem.

Israeli forces were operating in the Jenin refugee camp and several other areas of the West Bank to apprehend "terror suspects," the military said. According to the military, during the raid militants opened fire at the Israeli forces and hurled explosives at them, before the soldiers returned fire.

The Israeli military said in a statement that it was looking into "a possibility, now being looked into, that reporters were hit – possibly by shots fired by Palestinian gunmen."

Ran Kochav, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, told Kan public broadcaster. "We proposed to the Palestinians to open a swift joint probe. If we indeed killed her, we'll take responsibility, but it doesn't seem to be the case."

"If the Palestinians cooperate we'll have better answers," Kochav said, arguing "they might have a good reason" not to. According to him, "the Red Crescent took the body away" immediately after the shooting.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he holds Israeli forces "fully responsible" for Abu Akleh's death.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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