Shireen Abu Aqla: UN condemns killing of Al Jazeera reporter

- BBC News

Shireen Abu Aqla: UN condemns killing of Al Jazeera reporter

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The UN Security Council has condemned the killing of veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqla and called for an immediate probe into her death.

The move followed outcry on Friday after Israeli police hit mourners at Abu Aqlas funeral. Police said they acted after being pelted with stones.

Abu Aqla, 51, was shot dead in disputed circumstances on Wednesday, with Israel and Palestinians trading blame.

Her killing while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank has caused a surge of anger.

In a statement released on Friday, the Security Council said its members called for "an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation into her killing, and stressed the need to ensure accountability."

Though the statement showed a rare case of Security Council unity on an issue related to Israel, reports quoting diplomatic sources said there were difficult negotiations over the texts contents.

China succeeded in pushing the US to get rid of paragraphs denouncing abuses committed against the media globally, defending their freedom and urging their protection while covering military operations, news agency AFP reported. Instead the text said that "journalists should be protected as civilians."

During Abu Aqlas funeral on Friday, her coffin almost fell as police, some using batons, waded into a crowd of Palestinians gathered around it.

Footage showed a standoff between police and Palestinians gathered around the coffin in a hospital compound, before officers pushed the crowd back, with some beating and kicking mourners. Police said officers "were forced to use riot dispersal means".

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said he was "deeply disturbed" by the confrontations between Israeli security forces and Palestinians and the behaviour of some police.

Mr Guterres also said he was "moved by the outpouring of sympathy from the thousands of Palestinian mourners over the past two days," which he said was a "testament" to Abu Aqlas work and life.

Abu Aqla, a 51-year-old Palestinian American, was a veteran correspondent for Al Jazeeras Arabic news channel and had reported on the Israel-Palestinian conflict for two decades.

The Palestinian Authority and Al Jazeera claim she was shot dead by Israeli forces, while Israel said it was not yet possible to determine what happened and that she could have been killed by Palestinian gunfire.

An Israeli military interim report on Thursday said the fatal shot could have come from "massive fire from Palestinian gunmen", or possibly from "a few bullets" fired by a soldier "at a terrorist who was firing at his vehicle".

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