Abu Akleh family demand 'accountability' during Washington visit

'We want to know who pulled the trigger and why,' killed journalist's brother says

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The family of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Thursday demanded a meeting with President Joe Biden and a full investigation into her death in May while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank.

“We want to know who pulled the trigger and why,” said Victor Abu Akleh, the veteran reporter's nephew.

“We want there to be accountability for the system that gave the green light.”

In the sweltering Washington heat outside the US Capitol building, several progressive Democratic members of Congress joined the family, including Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib.

“We are urging our colleagues to see this as a free press issue, to put aside Israeli and Palestinian politics and to see this for what it is: an attack on independent reporting,” said Andre Carson, a congressman who has introduced a bill calling for the FBI to investigate Abu Akleh’s death.

On Tuesday, the family held a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during which they reiterated their demand for a full and transparent US-led investigation.

But family members said Mr Blinken did not agree to that.

Several investigations, including one carried out by the UN, found that the journalist had been killed by Israeli fire.

But a report released on July 4 by the US State Department said that while the Israeli military was “likely responsible” for Abu Akleh's death, there was “no reason to believe [the killing] was intentional”.

The family had been hoping to meet Mr Biden during his trip to the region earlier this month.

“President Biden was 10 minutes away and he never came to see us,” said the journalist’s brother, Anton Abu Akleh.

“We need him to hear from us directly so he understands the pain our family and too many other Palestinians have endured.”

Updated: July 29, 2022, 7:16 AM
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