US senators call for probe into killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

Mitt Romney and Jon Ossoff pen letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging full investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist

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Two prominent US senators, Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Jon Ossoff, penned a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week, urging “a full and transparent” investigation into the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while reporting on an Israeli military raid in the West Bank last month.

“We are deeply disturbed by the killing of an American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot to death while reporting near the city of Jenin in the West Bank on May 11, 2022,” the two US senators wrote.

They urged Mr Blinken to “ensure there is a full and transparent investigation and accountability for Ms Akleh’s death,” but did not specify who should be conducting the probe.

Israel launched an investigation following the killing but has not provided updates.

“The killing of a US citizen and of a journalist engaged in the work of reporting in a conflict zone is unacceptable,” Mr Romney and Mr Ossoff wrote.

“Press freedom is a core American value, and we cannot accept impunity when journalists are killed in the line of duty. We insist that the administration ensure a full and transparent investigation is completed and that justice is served for Ms Akleh’s death,” the letter said.

Senator Jon Ossoff speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP

The two senators asked Mr Blinken to provide a detailed update on the progress of this effort by July 6.

Last week, Mr Blinken reiterated in a call with his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid “the importance of concluding the investigations into the death of Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh", the State Department said.

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin also urged Israel to carry out a full investigation.

A CNN investigation last month cited new evidence that suggests Israeli forces killed Ms Abu Akleh in a “targeted attack". Israel has denied the claim.

The Palestinian Authority has also accused Israel of the killing and rejected a joint investigation.

Updated: June 07, 2022, 7:04 PM