Family of slain Al Jazeera reporter meets US' Blinken to 'demand justice for Shireen'

An image of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is placed on a chair, at a news conference in Bethlehem with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Joe Biden, on July 15, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The family of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday (July 26) to demand justice for the killing of the Al Jazeera reporter during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told a regular news briefing that Blinken was meeting the family at the department and would reiterate the need for accountability.

Shireen Abu Akleh was killed on May 11 during an Israeli raid in the town of Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

The State Department said this month that Abu Akleh was likely killed by gunfire from Israeli positions but that it was probably unintentional, citing an investigation by the US Security Coordinator.

Her family and Palestinian officials have criticized the US report and maintained she was deliberately targeted. Israel denies this.

Lina Abu Akleh, Shireen Abu Akleh’s niece, posted on Twitter after Tuesday’s meeting that family members wanted to meet President Joe Biden himself and that anything short of a US investigation that led to accountability was unacceptable.

“Although he made some commitments on Shireen’s killing, we’re still waiting to see if this administration will meaningfully answer our calls for #JusticeForShireen,” she wrote of meeting Blinken.

Washington was focused on ensuring investigations by Israel and the Palestinian Authority into the killing are thorough, exhaustive, transparent and end in accountability, Price said during Tuesday’s briefing.

Price said the United States wanted to see timely accountability in the case, but declined to give a time frame for investigations to conclude.

The family had accused the United States of providing impunity for Israel over her killing. They unsuccessfully requested a meeting with Biden in person during his trip to Israel this month.

“We will pursue accountability for her murder wherever it may take us,” said a statement on Twitter from Lina, Shireen’s brother Tony and nephew Victor. “Shireen lived to uncover the truth behind every story, and so shall we.”

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