Family of slain Palestine journalist calls for US investigation into killing

The family of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist who was killed by Israeli authorities during a raid, has called on U.S. officials to launch an investigation into the journalist’s killing. 

“So we want the US to…for the U.S. to conduct an investigation themselves,” Abu Akleh’s niece, Lina Abu Akleh, told The Hill in an interview on Wednesday. “That’s why the U.S. needs to step up, and they need to take this matter seriously.” 

Abu Akleh also said that the family wants to have a sitdown meeting with President Biden on the matter, adding that the administration has the “power” and “authority” to hold the Israeli government accountable in her aunt’s killing. 

“I think it’s very important that he meets with us” Abu Akleh said. “The kind of meeting will show us how serious he’s taking this matter and most importantly, he will hear directly from us as a family.” 

“So yeah, they have the power they have the authority to hold the Israeli occupation accountable and we’re hoping that this is what they’ll do,” Abu Akleh added. 

The family said they also met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday to discuss their demand for justice in their aunt’s killing, and lawmakers such as Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.)

Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran journalist who worked for Al Jazeera’s Arabic language channel, was shot and killed in May after being struck in the head by a bullet during a raid conducted by the Israeli military. 

The veteran journalist was covering the Israeli military raid for Al Jazeerz in the city of Jenin, a city in the West Bank that is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The State Department earlier this month agreed that the bullet that struck and killed her appeared to have been fired by Israel Defense Forces (IDF), though it indicated that ballistic experts said that bullet was badly damaged during the gunfire, preventing a clear conclusion. 

“You know at the end of the day she was a US citizen,” Abu Akley added in the interview with The Hill. “And as [Blinken] said that we have a duty to protect our citizens we will hold him to that, he has the duty to protect all U.S. citizens, and therefore there should be a U.S. investigation that is transparent.”