West News Wire: According to the Palestinian health ministry, Israeli troops killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank.

On Wednesday, Abu Akleh, an Al Jazeera Arabic TV correspondent, was shot in the head while covering Israeli raids in Jenin, in the northern occupied West Bank.

According to the ministry and Al Jazeera journalists, she was brought to a hospital in Jenin in severe condition, where she was proclaimed dead shortly after at 7:15 a.m. (4:15 a.m. GMT).

When Abu Akleh was killed, she was wearing a press vest and standing with other journalists.

Another Al Jazeera journalist, Ali al-Samoudi, was also wounded by a bullet in the back. He is now in stable condition.

Al-Samoudi and other journalists at the scene said there were no Palestinian fighters present when the journalists were shot, directly disputing an Israeli statement referencing the possibility that it was Palestinian fire.

“We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming,” said al-Samoudi.

“The first bullet hit me and the second bullet hit Shireen there was no Palestinian military resistance at all at the scene.”

Shatha Hanaysha, a local journalist who was standing next to Abu Akleh when she was shot that there had been no confrontations between Palestinian fighters and the Israeli army. She said the group of journalists had been directly targeted.

“We were four journalists, we were all wearing vests, all wearing helmets,” Hanaysha said. “The [Israeli] occupation army did not stop firing even after she collapsed. I couldn’t even extend my arm to pull her because of the shots being fired. The army was adamant on shooting to kill.”

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The circumstances of Abu Akleh’s death are still emerging, but videos of the incident show that she was shot in the head, said Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim.

“What we know for now is that the Palestinian health ministry has announced her death. Shireen Abu Akleh was covering the events unfolding in Jenin, specifically, an Israeli raid on the city, which is north of the occupied West Bank, when she was hit by a bullet to the head,” Ibrahim said, speaking from the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

Abu Akleh, who was a dual Palestinian-American national, was one of Al Jazeera’s first field correspondents, joining the network in 1997.

Grief and sorrow filled the Al Jazeera offices in downtown Ramallah as the news quickly spread and dozens of colleagues, fellow journalists, friends, and Palestinian figures poured in, including Palestinian politicians Hanan Ashrawi and Khalida Jarrar.

Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar said that Abu Akleh was the voice of Palestinians and was killed by “the monstrosity of Israeli colonialism and occupation”.

Al Jazeera’s offices in the Gaza Strip, in a building that also housed the Associated Press, were bombed by Israeli forces during an offensive a year ago, and Palestinian and international journalists say they have been regularly targeted by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

Many in Palestine and abroad took to social media to express their shock and grief.


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