CPJ calls on Biden administration to investigate killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

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WASHINGTON, D.C., Tuesday, June 28, 2022 (WAFA) – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a nonprofit press freedom advocacy organization, has called on the US Biden administration to lead a thorough, independent, and transparent investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, noting that 19 have been killed in the course of their work in Israel and the Palestinian territories since 1992.

The CPJ released a statement in the form of a letter and published it on their official website, saying that the US has the authority and responsibility to fully investigate the killong of Abu Akleh.

“While your administration has called for an investigation, more than one month after Abu Akleh’s killing, only journalists have carried out serious probes of the incident. Multiple journalistic investigations of the shooting suggest Abu Akleh was killed by Israel Occupation Forces (IOF) fire. CNN said it uncovered evidence suggesting that it was a targeted attack and The New York Times found the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was fired from the approximate position of an Israeli military vehicle. Most recently, an investigation by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights found the shot that killed Abu Akleh came from Israeli forces,” the statement said.

“Israel’s attacks on journalists and media facilities is a trend that CPJ has documented over decades. At least 19 journalists have been killed in the course of their work in Israel and the Palestinian territories since 1992. In 18 of those cases the suspected source of fire was Israeli military officials, and 16 of those killed were Palestinians. No one has been held to account. This pattern of official indifference by Israeli authorities plants the seeds of impunity that we continue to witness. It also represents a blatant disregard for the rights of the Palestinian people and people around the world to be informed, to follow key developments, and to understand vital facts,” the statement added.

“Exactly one year prior to Abu Akleh’s killing – May 11, 2021 – Israeli warplanes began a bombing campaign targeting at least four buildings in Gaza housing the offices of 18 international and local media outlets. In seeking to justify these attacks, Israeli officials claimed Hamas was using the buildings for military purposes.”

“Three years prior, in April 2018, Yaser Murtaja, a photojournalist and camera operator for the Gaza-based media production company Ain Media (a USAID grantee), died of injuries sustained while covering protests in the area east of Khan Younis. He was wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet that were clearly marked with the word “PRESS” and was more than 1,000 feet away from the border fence when he was hit in the abdomen with a live round,” the CPJ also said.

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