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US lawmakers seek FBI investigation into shooting death of ‘Al Jazeera’ reporter

In a letter to the Secretary of State and FBI director, 57 members of Congress cite “conflicting reports surrounding the death” in Jenin of Shireen Abu Akleh.

Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Source: Screenshot.
Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Source: Screenshot.

Fifty-seven U.S. lawmakers called on the FBI and the U.S. State Department to investigate the May 11 shooting death of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh.

In a letter sent on May 20 to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and FBI Director Christopher Wray, the lawmakers also requested that the State Department “determine whether any U.S. laws protecting Ms. Abu Akleh, an American citizen, were violated.”

“As members of Congress, we are deeply concerned by the death of Ms. Abu Akleh. Journalists worldwide must be protected at all costs,” states the letter, which was published on the official website of Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.).

“We welcome the actions and statements taken so far by the U.S. Department of State supporting a thorough investigation. However, given the tenuous situation in the region and the conflicting reports surrounding the death of Ms. Abu Akleh, we request the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation launch an investigation into Ms. Abu Akleh’s death,” it said.

Also on May 20, State Department Spokesman Ned Price reiterated the State Department’s call for a “thorough and transparent” investigation into Abu Akleh’s death, adding that any investigation must include “accountability.”

Abu Akleh, 51 and a reporter for Al Jazeera, was shot dead in Jenin in northern Samaria on May 11 while covering an Israel Defense Forces counter-terrorism raid in the city.

The Palestinian Authority has rejected requests from Israel to hold a joint investigation, and is refusing to turn over the bullet extracted from Akleh’s body for a ballistic and forensic analysis.

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