A memorial procession was held in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to mourn the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist with Al Jazeera who covered the Mideast conflict for more than 25 years. She was killed Wednesday during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. Her death captured worldwide sympathy and condemnations of her killing.
“We are absolutely heartbroken to learn of the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and injuries to her producer Ali Samoudi today in the West Bank,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said at his daily briefing Wednesday. “We send our deepest condolences to Shireen’s family, her friends and loved ones and strongly condemn her killing, as we do, the killing of journalists around the world.”
With the sympathy for the Al Jazeera journalist and condemnations of her killing came calls for investigation. A senior United Nations diplomat asked “for those responsible to be held accountable.” On Thursday, the head of the Palestinian Authority blamed Israel for her death and rejected Israeli calls for a joint investigation.
“We hold the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for killing her, and they cannot hide the truth with this crime,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said. “We have refused and rejected the joint investigation with the Israeli authorities because they are the ones who committed the crime and because we do not trust them and we will immediately go to the International Criminal Court to prosecute the criminals.”
Israel initially suggested Abu Akleh might have been shot by Palestinian militants but has since backtracked. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett commented on the investigation Thursday.
“At this stage, the Palestinian Authority denies any possibility of a joint investigation or even access to the basic findings required to get to the truth,” Prime Minister Bennett said. “I therefore reiterate my expectation of an open, transparent and full cooperation of the findings, and I also expect the Palestinian Authority not to take any steps to disrupt the investigation or to contaminate the investigation process, in a way that we will not be able to reach the truth.”
Abu Akleh was killed while covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin. The city has emerged as a militant bastion in recent weeks. Palestinians have carried out a series of deadly attacks and Israel has launched military raids across the West Bank.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.