Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., asked the State Department to investigate the death of a Palestinian American journalist who was killed while reporting on an Israeli military raid in the West Bank last month.
In a letter Monday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the two senators are requesting a “full and transparent investigation” into the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, who was fatally shot while reporting near the city of Jenin on May 11.
Who was Shireen Abu Akleh? Abu Akleh was a longtime TV correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic and a household name in the Arab world. She reported in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories for 25 years.
How she died: Reporters who were with her when she was killed said it was clear that Israeli troops fired the fatal shots, per The Washington Post. The Associated Press found in a review that evidence suggested “the bullet that cut her down came from an Israeli gun.” Israeli officials said she was killed in an exchange of gunfire but said they had not determined who fired the fatal shot. Abu Akleh died while wearing a helmet and a flak jacket labeled “Press.”
What the letter says: Romney and Ossoff wrote that they are “deeply disturbed” by the killing of Abu Akleh.
- “We urge that the State Department ensure there is a full and transparent investigation and accountability for Ms. Akleh’s death.”
- “The killing of a U.S. citizen and of a journalist engaged in the work of reporting in a conflict zone is unacceptable.”
- “All over the world, journalists pursue truth and accountability at great personal risk. Press freedom is a core American value, and we cannot accept impunity when journalists are killed in the line of duty.”
Romney and Ossoff “insist” justice is served for Abu Akleh’s death. They asked the State Department to provide a detailed update on the progress of the investigation within 30 days.
The State Department did not respond to a request from The Washington Post for comment about the letter or whether the Biden administration would launch an investigation. Last month, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Israel had the “wherewithal and the capabilities to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation,” the Post reported.