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Arab Journalists Angrily Mourn Killing of Palestinian Colleague, Blame Israeli Forces

LONDON: Arab journalists on Wednesday paid tribute to Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot and killed – which they blamed on Israeli fire – while covering developments in the West Bank.

Heartwarming and angry tributes flooded social media platforms with colleagues, journalists and admirers of Abu Akleh expressing their sadness at the death of the Palestinian broadcaster.

Linah Alsaafin, producer of Al Jazeera English, wrote: “My god. What news to wake up to. Veteren (sic) Al Jazeera Arab journalist @ShireenNasri was killed by Israeli forces while covering a raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. We grew up watching Shireen on TV. Total shock.

Similarly, Arwa Ibrahim, another colleague of Abu Akleh at Al Jazeera, tweeted how she listened to his reporting growing up and said she was devastated by the news.

“I grew up listening to the courageous voice of Shireen Abu Akleh on Palestine and had the privilege of working alongside him while reporting from Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Shireen was shot dead by Israeli police while doing her job – reporting. This news tears us all apart,” Ibrahim tweeted.

Dima Khatib, Managing Director of AJ+, praised Abu Akleh for her bravery and pioneering career in war reporting, tweeting, “Shireen Abu Akleh was one of the first female Arab war correspondents in the late 1990, when the traditional role of women in television was to be presented from the studio.

“Shireen was one of the pioneers of the generation that broke stereotypical gender roles in television journalism. Her courage has always been a great inspiration to us all.

The 51-year-old man was shot and killed on Wednesday morning.

She was a veteran reporter on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for Al Jazeera, and widely known in the Arab world as an authoritative voice on the region’s most contested history.

Abu Akleh worked with UNRWA, Voice of Palestine Radio, Amman Satellite Channel, Miftah Foundation and Monte Carlo Radio before joining Al Jazeera.

In a statement, Al Jazeera blamed Israel and said the occupation forces had “deliberately” targeted and killed Abu Akleh. Meanwhile, the Israeli army said it was investigating the possibility that she was hit by “Palestinian gunmen”.

Abu Akleh was wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest, clearly marked “press”, when she was shot.

Salman Andary, senior reporter at Sky News Arabia, mourned Abu Akleh’s death in a tweet. “Targeting and murdering his colleague Shireen Abu Akleh in this manner only indicates fear of the journalist’s voice and message and that no protective vest can deter cowardly killers.”

“Shireen, the bride of Palestine and a colleague we all grew up with with her voice, her messages and her reports… It’s a dark, sad and terrifying day… #Shireen_Abu_Akleh,” he said. he adds.

Lebanese journalist, Luna Safwan, joined the ranks to express her sadness over the journalist’s death, praising Abu Akleh for his tremendous inspiration.

“Shocking and devastating,” wrote Kim Ghattas, a contributing writer for The Atlantic, while adding the hashtag #JournalismIsNotACrime to his bereavement tweet.

“Shireen was an icon, a veteran, fearless and calm. Colleagues described her as being the target of sniper fire while wearing her press vest and helmet. She was hit under the helmet just behind the ear.

Meanwhile, Joyce Karam, senior correspondent at The National, penned a tribute to Abu Akleh and gave a detailed report on the latest developments surrounding his murder.

BBC reporter Rushdi Abualouf wrote: “Shocking news, our Al #Jazeera colleague’s longtime senior correspondent in the Palestinian territories Shireen Abu (Akleh) has been shot in the head during a an Israeli operation in the Jenin refugee camp. TO TEAR.”