By Mukesh Sharma
Doha, May 12 (IANS): Swift and widespread condemnation has given way to shock and fear after the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Ramallah in West Bank.
The veteran reporter was hit by a live bullet on Wednesday as she was covering an Israeli military raid in the city of Jenin, Al Jazeera said. The Doha-based network has been full of stories linked to the killing of the woman television journalist by troops who shot her while she was reporting in full press gear, including an anti-flak jacket marked 'press'.
However, Israel blamed the Palestinian militants for the death of the reporter.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said it was "likely" that Palestinian gunfire killed the Al Jazeera reporter.
"According to the information we've gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians -- who were indiscriminately firing at the time -- were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist," Bennett said in a statement.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was vocal in blaming Israeli forces for the death of the journalist, calling it a "blatant cold-blooded murder by the Israeli Army".
Al Jazeera quoted the executive director of the International Press Institute, Barbara Trionfi, as saying that the killing comes at a time of increased attacks against journalists in the West Bank and Gaza.
There was obvious indignation in the Palestinian Territories after the incident. An outraged Palestinian told IANS that Akleh was a brave journalist who always fought for the truth. "She was a true icon and inspiration for all of us. She was brutally killed by a settler colonial regime though she sported her full press gear. The killing was deliberate, we are all outraged and hurt by this ongoing perpetual injustice," said the woman requesting anonymity. We've had enough of 'neutral' and fake media coverage that does not speak the truth and perpetuates the settler's tales, she added.
Amid global calls for an independent probe into the killing, Palestine's UN ambassador Riyad Mansoursaid his country will "not accept" an investigation by the "Israeli occupying authority" and has held the Israeli army responsible for the "assassination" of Abu Akleh, Al Jazeera reported.
Addressing media persons at the UN headquarters in New York, Mansour said: "The story of the Israeli side does not hold water, it is fictitious and it is not in line with reality and we do not accept to have an investigation on this issue with those who are the criminals in conducting this event itself."