EU strongly condemns Abu Aqleh's killing as U.S. urges transparent probe
The U.S. envoy to the U.N. on Wednesday said the killing of Palestinian-American Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as she covered an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank must be "investigated transparently."
"We're encouraging both sides to participate in that investigation so that we can get down to why this happened," U.S. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, adding that Washington's "highest priority is protection of American citizens and the protection of journalists."
The European Union meanwhile "strongly" condemned the killing and demanded an independent investigation into the circumstances of her death.
"It is essential that a thorough, independent investigation clarifies all the circumstances of these incidents as soon as possible and that those responsible are brought to justice," it continued.
"It is unacceptable to target journalists while they perform their job. Journalists covering conflict situations must be ensured safety and protection at all times."
The European Union statement did not attribute blame for the shooting.
The 51-year-old reporter's employer, Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera, charged that Israeli forces had shot her deliberately and "in cold blood."
Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said it was "likely" that "armed Palestinians -- who were indiscriminately firing at the time -- were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist."
An AFP photographer reported that Israeli forces were firing in the area and that he then saw Abu Akleh's body lying on the ground, with no Palestinian gunmen visible at the time.