Shireen Abu Akleh: Al Jazeera journalist shot dead during Israeli raid and what happened at her funeral?

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Experienced Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral was held on 13 May at a Catholic church in Jerusalem

Mourners have came under fire from tear gas at the funeral of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Al Jazeera journalist who was shot and killed whilst working in the West Bank.

Abu Akleh was shot and killed during an Israeli raid whilst working in the town of Jenin.

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Mourners atteneding her funeral have been arrested outside the church where the service was being held.

Tear gas was fired on people gathering outside the hospital where her body was being held and shrine to the jouranlist was destroyed.

Her death has been condemned by journalism organisations around the world.

Here’s everything you need to know about what happened to Shireen Abu Akleh.

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Who was Shireen Abu Akleh?

Palestinian artists paint a mural in honour of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh (Pic: Getty Images)Palestinian artists paint a mural in honour of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh (Pic: Getty Images)
Palestinian artists paint a mural in honour of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh (Pic: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Shireen Abu Akleh was a veteran journalist, who had worked for the Arabic language channel Al Jazeera since 1997.

The 51-year-old, who was a joint Palestinian and US citizen, was Al Jazeera’s Palestinian reporter.

A well-respected journalist, she lived and reported from East Jerusalem, covering events such as the Second Intifada.

What religion was Shireen Abu Akleh?

Abu Akleh is Palestinian Christian, with her funeral being held at a Catholic church east Jerusalem.

Her family are from Bethlehem.

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What happened to the Al Jazeera journalist?

 Shireen Abu Akleh funeral was held on 13 May (Pic: Getty Images) Shireen Abu Akleh funeral was held on 13 May (Pic: Getty Images)
Shireen Abu Akleh funeral was held on 13 May (Pic: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Abu Akleh was shot whilst reporting on an Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp.

She was rushed to hospital, but died from her injuries in the early hours of 11 May.

In video footage, the journalist is seen wearing a blue flak jacket, with the word press, identifying her as a member of the media.

The Palestinian Health Ministry say she was hit by gunfire from Israeli forces.

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A second journalist, Ali Al-Samud who was working as Abu Akleh’s producer was also shot in the back and is currently in a stable condition in hospital.

Recalling the attack to Al Jazeera, eyewitness and Palestinian journalist Shatha Hanaysha said: “We were four journalists, we were all wearing vests, all wearing helmets.

“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.”

The journalist was honoured with a state memorial service on 12 May in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

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Over 5,000 people lined the streets to pay their respects and honour her contribution to the media.

Her funeral took place on 13 May in a Catholic church in Jerusalem.

What has Al Jazeera said?

Al Jazeera condemned the attack, the Doha-based Arabic language channel said in a statement that it blamed Israel.

The channel urged the international community to: “condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for deliberately targeting and killing our colleague, Shireen Abu Akleh”.

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In a statement, Al Jazeera’s managing director, Giles Trendle expressed the channel was “shocked and saddened,” by the journalist’s death.

He continued: “We have had a history throughout the world but particularly in this region, where we have had tragedies.”

What has Israel said?

In response to the journalist’s death, Israel has said that its forces had come under attack while operating in Jenin and that they had returned fire.

Originally Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett suggested that: “There is a considerable chance that armed Palestinians, who fired wildly, were the ones who brought about the journalist’s unfortunate death”.

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But later in a statement, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said: “We are not sure how she was killed. We are investigating.”

Gantz added that the fatal shots could have been from, “our side.”

Before her funeral on Friday (13 May), the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) issued a statement claiming that it is not possible to confirm who fired the fatal short, adding that it may have came from an IDF soldier.

Israel have offered to take part in a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority (PA), but the PA has turned this down, instead opting to bring the case to the International Criminal Court.

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Where is the West Bank?

Home to nearly three million Palestinians, the West Bank was captured by Israel in 1967.

The region is under control of Israeli military rule, with Palestinians wanting it to form part of their future state.

Israel has since built 130 settlements across the region, which are home to more than 500,000 Israeli settlers.

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