Shireen Abu Akleh


May 23, 2022

Shireen Abu Akleh (Arabic: شيرين أبو عاقلة), born January 3, 1971 in Jerusalem and died May 11, 2022 in Jenin, was a Palestinian-American journalist. She was a reporter for the Al Jazeera news channel for 25 years before being killed in the field. Israeli forces are suspected by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority of having fired on May 11, 2022, while covering an operation on Jenin in the West Bank, carried out in retaliation for a series of terrorist attacks. Israel, after attributing possible responsibility for the journalist's death to Palestinian gunfire, announced that it wanted to conduct a transparent investigation "without favoring one track over the other". The event, then the reactions of the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, have important echoes internationally. Many authorities, such as the European Union or the White House, are calling for a serious investigation to shed light on the circumstances of the journalist's death. Significant tensions between the Palestinian authorities and the Israeli forces manifested themselves in the days following the death, particularly during the funeral, when the latter charged the crowd carrying the coffin of the deceased, again provoking reactions from international diplomats.


Childhood and studies

Shireen Abu Akleh was born in 1971 in Jerusalem into a family of Arab Christians from Bethlehem, of the Greek-Melkite-Catholic rite. She attended secondary school in Beit Hanina, then enrolled at the Jordanian University of Science and Technology to study architecture. She then studied as part of an exchange at the University of Yarmouk in Jordan, where she obtained a master's degree in journalism. After graduating, Shireen Abu Akleh returns to Palestine.


Shireen Abu Akleh has worked as a journalist for RMC and Voice of Palestine. She has also worked for UNRWA, Amman Satellite Channel and MIFTAH. In 1997, she began working for Al Jazeera, gaining notoriety on the Arabic language version of the channel. She lives and works in East Jerusalem, reporting on major events related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the second Intifada, and additionally covering Israeli politics. She often covered the funerals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.


On May 11, 2022, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announces that Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) while covering an IDF offensive in Jenin. Shireen Abu Akleh was present during a raid which, according to the Israeli army, was aimed at capturing suspected terrorists. She was taken to Ibn Sina Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was 51 years old. Another journalist, Ali Samoadi of Al-Quds newspaper, was shot in the back but survived.


Al Jazeera describes the murder of Shireen Abou Akleh, who worked for their Arab branch, as a "horrific crime that breaches international standards" and was committed "in cold blood". Al Jazeera network chief executive Giles Trendle said he was "shocked and saddened" by his death and called for a transparent investigation. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, said the same day that he considered Israeli forces "fully responsible" for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary general of the PLO, tweeted that the "crime of silencing the words" has been "committed once again, and [that] the truth is being murdered by the bullets of the Israeli occupation". The head of the Palestinian mission to the UK, Hu