Daybreak on Wednesday May 11 in a residential part of Jenin, a city in occupied Palestine.

Sporadic gunfire. Shireen Abu Akleh, Ali al-Samoudi and two other Palestinian journalists are on the street documenting a raid by the Israeli army of occupation on a nearby house.

The four journalists are in the firing line of heavily armed Israeli soldiers approximately 200 meters away, according to investigative journalism group Bellingcat.

Abu Akleh, wearing a blue flak jacket marked PRESS and blue helmet, is shot in the head below the ear. Al-Samoudi is shot in the back and survives. Witnesses say the shots were fired by Israeli soldiers.

That evening armed Israeli soldiers barge in to the Abu Akleh family home disrupting a gathering to mourn her death.

Soldiers arrest and injure people who come out to mourn and protest the killing in her hometown of Beit Hanina. Thousands more gather in Ramallah to honour her life. 


Across the Middle East and beyond, those who witnessed her reporting from the Occupied Territories speak of her as a trailblazer.

One of the first women war correspondents. A tireless pursuer of truth. Not without fear. She covered the five years of the second Intifada from 2000, sparked by Israeli state provocation, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians.

In 2002 she reported on the battle of Jenin, where alleged Israeli war crimes took place. She watched the bombs fall on Gaza.

She relayed the terror of everyday life; of having your home bulldozed by the occupying forces; of the daily humiliation at Israeli checkpoints; of arbitrary arrest and detention and of lethal attacks by gun-toting Israeli settlers.

She laid bear the stark, unsentimental reality of life under de facto apartheid. 

May 12 Abu Akleh’s body is taken from Jenin, a city she loved, to Ramallah and then on to occupied East Jerusalem for the funeral on May 13.

That day mourners gather at St Joseph Hospital and insist on carrying her coffin to the cathedral.

Unprovoked, except by Palestinian flag waving and singing, Israeli police officers storm the hospital gates and attack mourners with batons and stun grenades, causing the coffin to nearly fall to the ground. Armed Israeli police also enter the hospital itself injuring patients and staff.

The National Wales: Israeli police confront mourners as they carry Shireen Abu Akleh's coffin. Picture: AP Photo/Maya LavinIsraeli police confront mourners as they carry Shireen Abu Akleh's coffin. Picture: AP Photo/Maya Lavin

Abu Akleh is finally laid to rest beside her parents in the Mount Zion Cemetery.

Condemnation of Israeli actions has been swift. The day Abu Akleh was killed, Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, said that the crime constitutes a "serious violation of international humanitarian law and is potentially a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court."

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After denying everything, Israel says an investigation into the killing and the events at the funeral will now take place. But will justice be done?

Fifty Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2001, according to the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate.

Welsh filmmaker James Miller was killed by Israeli army gunfire in 2003. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) say nearly 150 journalists have been injured by Israeli forces over the past four years.

On May 15 2021 Israeli war planes blew up the press centre in Gaza City, used by al-Jazeera and Associated Press. 

To date no one has been held to account for these crimes.

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