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Veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was a household name in the Arab world.
For two and a half decades, she chronicled the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation for tens of millions of Arab viewers.
Abu Akleh, 51, was shot dead in the West Bank on Wednesday as she reported on Israeli military raids in the city of Jenin. Her producer was also shot and is in stable condition.
Her employer, Al Jazeera, decried her death as “a blatant murder” by Israeli forces. Three eyewitnesses told CNN that the journalists were shot by Israeli troops and that there were no Palestinian militants immediately near to the journalists. The Israeli military’s Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said it is “not possible” yet to determine which direction she was shot from, promising an investigation. Earlier, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett claimed “there is a significant possibility” that she was shot by Palestinian crossfire.
Abu Akleh joined Al Jazeera a year after it was established in 1997, at the age of 26. The channel became pivotal for television journalism in the Arab world for its round-the-clock, breaking coverage of pan-Arab issues. It was controversial in the West and in the Middle East alike for airing interviews with unsavory figures like Osama bin Laden and Arab opposition figures.