Blinken offers support to family of slain Palestinian journalist

AFP , Sunday 15 May 2022

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with the family of slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh after criticizing Israel's use of force at her funeral, an official said Sunday.

Shireen Abu Akleh
Protesters hold photos of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as they shout at Israeli border policemen in Haifa, Israel, Wednesday, May 11, 2022. AP

 

Blinken, during his flight Saturday to Berlin for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, offered "deep condolences" in a phone call with family members of Shireen Abu Akleh, a State Department official said.

The top US diplomat "noted Abu Akleh's journalistic body of work and the importance of a free and independent press," the official said on customary condition of anonymity.

Blinken offered the support of US diplomats in Jerusalem to the family of Abu Akleh, who also held US citizenship.

Abu Akleh, a prominent journalist for Al Jazeera television, was killed Wednesday when she covered an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank.

Al Jazeera said Israel's occupation forces shot her "in cold blood."

Meanwhile, occupation state officials claimed that Palestinian gunmen could be to blame before backtracking and promising to investigate.

At her funeral on Friday, baton-wielding Israeli police descended upon mourners and grabbed Palestinian flags, with the pallbearers struggling not to drop her casket.

Blinken earlier said he was "deeply troubled" by the Israeli police's actions and the State Department urged a transparent investigation into her killing.

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