57 Democratic US House Members Demand Abu Akleh Investigation
Fifty-seven Democratic members of the US House of Representatives have demanded in a letter to US Secretary of Sate Antony Blinken and FBI Director Chris Wray that the State Department and FBI open an investigation into the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while she was reporting on an Israel Defense Forces arrest raid in Jenin on May 11.
“As Members of Congress, we are deeply concerned by the death of Ms. Abu Akleh. Journalists worldwide must be protected at all costs. The U.S. State Department called Ms. Abu Akleh’s death “an affront to media freedom.” We welcome the actions and statements taken so far by the US 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 (FBI) launch an investigation into Ms. Abu Akleh’s death. We also request the U.S. Department of State determine whether any U.S. laws protecting Ms. Abu Akleh, an American citizen, were violated,” read the letter dated May 19.
“As an American, Ms. Abu Akleh was entitled to the full protections afforded to U.S. citizens living abroad. We, the undersigned Members of Congress, urge you to uphold the values that our nation was founded on, including human rights, equality for all, and freedom of speech. We have a duty to protect Americans reporting abroad. We look forward to your timely response,” the letter concluded.
The IDF has continued with an investigation into Abu Akleh’s death, though it announced on Thursday that it was not a criminal investigation since it took place during an arrest raid and was not seen as a criminal incident. Israel has offered to conduct a joint investigation into the killing with the Palestinian Authority, which has refused to participate in such a probe since it does not believe that Israel could fairly investigate the actions of its own soldiers. Israel has asked to see the bullet that killed the journalist in order to find out if it came from on e of its soldier’s guns, but the PA also has refused the request.