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Monday, November 28, 2022

Friend of slain journalist says ‘he killed many people’ with one bullet

Excited about the upcoming holidays, Najwan Simri texted with his friend Shirin Abu Akleh in the early hours of May 11.

He had weekend plans for a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, sightseeing and some shopping.

The two friends, who met while working for Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, talked about Ackley’s reporting on the unrest in Jenin and his plans to break. Before they ended their chat, around 3 p.m., Akleh wrote, “Nougat, remind me to tell you something important when I see you,” she said, using a nickname for Simri.

“I told him, ‘Come on, tell me now!’ Simri told VOA. But Akeleh refused. Now, Simri said, “I will never know what that important thing was.”

When Simri woke up that morning, Akleh was already dead. An Al Jazeera journalist – a household name for her coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict – was shot as she covered an Israeli security forces raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.

The killing of the 51-year-old Palestinian American drew international condemnation, with the leaders of the United States, the United Nations, Britain and the Vatican issuing statements.

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Preliminary investigations by Palestinian officials and several independent groups, who spoke with witnesses and reviewed the videos, say it appears that a sniper killed Akle.

Palestinian officials say Israeli soldiers deliberately targeted the journalist.

Israel says the situation is not yet clear. VOA contacted Israeli government and military spokespersons but did not receive a response.

journalists at risk

The killing of such a high-profile journalist underscores the dangers for the media covering the clashes and unrest in the region. Media rights groups say the Israeli military arbitrarily detains or attacks journalists, and that it is rare for anyone to be held accountable.

“Palestinian journalists are systematically subjected to violence as a result of their coverage of events in the West Bank,” media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said in its annual report released just a week before Ackley’s death.

For Simri, those responsible for her friend’s death must be held accountable.

“With one bullet, they killed so many people that I fell in love with Shireen,” she said.

‘source of protection’

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Akle and Simri’s friendship began in 2003, when Simri joined Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem Bureau, where Akle had worked since the late 1990s.

“We clicked immediately, and our relationship escalated to such an extent that other colleagues in the office would jokingly call us ‘twins’,” Simri said.

Originally from the northern region of Galilee, Simri moved to Jerusalem in 2000 to attend college.

“Shirin was my source of protection in this world,” she said. “My family and childhood friends and I knew everyone else was living in the North, so she became a mom when I needed it. A sister when I needed one. A friend when I needed one. We’d see each other at work, and then we’d probably talk on the phone more than 10 times a day.”

Hearing that Akleh had been killed, Simri went to the hospital where her friend’s body was taken.

Simri said, “I kept talking to him, begging him to wake him up.”

When she returned home she saw her son crying.

“He asked me, ‘Mom, are they going to do the same to you?’ ,

Two Girls Attend An Art Exhibition In Honor Of The Late Palestinian Al Jazeera Journalist Shirin Abu Aqleh In The Occupied West Bank City Of Jenin On May 19, 2022.

Two girls attend an art exhibition in honor of the late Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Aqleh in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on May 19, 2022.

leading war reporter

Born in Jerusalem to a Catholic family, Ackley moved to the United States in the early 1990s, only to return to the Middle East after receiving her American citizenship.

She was considered one of the first female journalists in the Arab world to cover the war. His journalism came to prominence in 2000 during the second Palestinian uprising against Israel, known as the Intifada.

“Shirin was a household name in the Palestinians and throughout the Arab world because the reporting of what was happening here was original, and it touched the human soul,” her brother Anton Abu Akleh told VOA from Jerusalem.

“Above all, she was deeply devoted to her profession. She was loyal to her homeland and Palestine. He used journalism to the fullest as a platform to help other people and highlight their plight,” he said.

Abu Akleh, who works for the United Nations in Somalia, went to Jerusalem to visit his sister and family.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday he spoke with the family, expressed condolences and expressed “the need for an urgent and credible investigation”.

Abu Akleh described the call as “reassuring”, but said, “I have yet to see anything concrete from the US government. Shireen was an American citizen, and the United States, a country that respects its citizens It is the responsibility to get to the bottom of it and find out who was responsible for my sister’s murder.”

The family is consulting with legal counsel about next steps, including whether to prosecute Israel in the US

Palestinian journalists targeted

Akleh’s death comes just weeks after media rights groups filed a lawsuit at the International Criminal Court alleging “systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists”.

The complaint, filed by groups including the International Federation of Journalists, during attacks and protests on journalists clearly marked with the identification of the “press”, and on a building housing news networks including Al Jazeera and The Associated Press in May 2021 Refers to the bombing.

“At least 46 journalists have been killed” [in the region] Since 2000, no one else has been held responsible,” the complaint states.

Palestinian officials say that based on their preliminary investigation into Akle’s death, he was killed by Israeli fire.

“The preliminary report by the forensic team of the General Prosecution Office in the Palestinian Authority stated that the source of the shooting was Israeli occupation forces,” said Palestinian Authority Justice Minister Mohamed al-Shaldeh.

Israel has said the circumstances are unclear and that the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to share evidence means Israeli officials cannot complete the investigation.

Palestinian officials have so far refused to share evidence with Israelis, citing mistrust. He has also refused the Israeli government’s call for a joint investigation.

Speaking with the VOA from Ramallah in the West Bank, al-Shaldeh said Palestinian officials have the bullet.

“This will be used as key evidence and will be used as a determination in the final outcome of the investigation,” he said.

File - A Palestinian Woman Photographs The Scene That Al Jazeera Reporter Shirin Abu Aqleh Was Shot Dead During An Israeli Raid In Jenin In The Israeli-Occupied West Bank On May 17, 2022.

FILE – A Palestinian woman photographs the scene that Al Jazeera reporter Shirin Abu Aqleh was shot dead during an Israeli raid in Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on May 17, 2022.

‘No check’

On Thursday, the Israeli military police said no investigation would be opened because there was no suspicion of criminal act. haaretzAn Israeli daily newspaper.

Akiva Elder, an Israeli political analyst who writes for haaretzSaid an Israeli investigation may not be helpful.

“According to Israeli law, occupied territories are still considered a war zone, and in a war zone, anything can happen,” he told VOA. “With Shirin’s death, in the best case, the military will take internal disciplinary action or send someone to jail for a few months.”

Elder said he did not believe the Israeli government had a policy of targeting journalists.

Still, Akle’s family and friends are determined to push for answers and justice.

Simri said, “I am not going to lose hope.” “The person who killed Shireen should be held accountable. I really wish Shirin’s blood would be a turning point for us [Palestinians’] struggle for freedom. ,

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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