Democrats introduce bill for report on Shireen Abu Akleh's killing

The Palestinian-American journalist was killed a year ago while covering an Israeli raid in Jenin

US Democratic Representative Andre Carson of Indiana speaks alongside family members of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. AFP
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Democratic US politicians on Thursday reintroduced a bill for a congressional report into the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian-American journalist who was killed while covering an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank a year ago.

Abu Akleh was killed on May 11, 2022, while wearing a flak jacket marked "Press" as she reported on the Jenin raid. The circumstances around her death remain heavily disputed.

Israel initially denied responsibility and blamed Palestinian gunmen operating in the area.

After increasing international pressure, Israel later conceded there was a “high possibility” one of its soldiers accidentally shot the renowned Al Jazeera journalist while she was covering the military operation.

"The Justice for Shireen Act would require a report to Congress on Shireen's death and indicate whether any US funds or weapons were killed used in her killing," Representative Andre Carson, who is leading the effort, told a media conference.

"It is very important that Congress be given the information it needs to conduct a necessary oversight.

"We must ensure no taxpayer dollars result in human rights violations and especially someone's death, most especially an American abroad."

The FBI has launched an investigation into the killing but agents still have not spoken to key witnesses, US media has reported.

Mr Carson first introduced the Justice for Shireen Act in November of 2022 at the end of the last Congressional session, and reintroduced it on Thursday along with 26 Democrat co-sponsors.

It will probably face considerable opposition in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Mr Carson said he would also introduce the Justice for Journalists Act, which would make it mandatory to investigate all non-natural deaths of US journalists working abroad.

Relatives of Abu Akleh appeared at the press conference, including her niece Lina Abu Akleh.

"The Israeli soldier tried to silence Shireen, but killing her only made her message spread further and her impact even greater," Ms Abu Akleh said.

Updated: May 18, 2023, 9:12 PM