On May 11, 2021 journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and a handful of other reporters approached an Israeli convoy in the occupied West Bank wearing bright blue “PRESS” vests. They were looking to interview witnesses to an earlier firefight between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian forces when a new burst of gunfire broke out, reports  The New York Times. Witnesses describe seeing Abu Akleh crouched behind a tree, and soon after that facedown on the ground. She’d been shot in the back of the head.

Following the incident, the Israeli government admitted it was possible Akleh had been killed by a stray Israeli bullet, but also claimed it may have come from a Palestinian gunman. However, footage released last year shows that there wasn’t any fighting before the attack. The video shows people chatting and laughing when six shots ring out in quick succession. The bullet that hit the back of her head was “well aimed,” a United Nations forensics report concluded, suggesting that Akleh had been executed. An analysis by Forensic Architecture, a firm specializing in on-the-ground evidence, concluded that the shooting was “fully intentional.”

“Is anyone injured,” a bystander, Sleem Awad, yelled, according to the Times. “Shireen! Shireen!” he yelled.

The bullet that hit the back of her head was “well aimed,” a United Nations forensics report concluded, suggesting that Akleh had been executed.

Abu Akleh was well known in the occupied territories for the stories she told about the people who lived there. After working for a series of publications, she landed at Al-Jazeera, the outlet she was reporting for on the day she died. Her list of accomplishments is long: Known as “The daughter of Palestine,” she was one of the first female anchors to report from the Arab world. She covered multiple wars and the second Intifada. She reported on four separate large-scale Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Her cousin recalled her commitment to the Palestinian people.

“My cousin, Shireen Abu Akleh, an American-Palestinian, had become a hero in Palestine,” she wrote in the Boston Review. “For decades she showed us not just the suffering of Palestinians, but their bravery, their perseverance and their desire to live in freedom and dignity.”

The last time she saw her cousin they’d chatted about her kids and looked forward to traveling and seeing each other after the pandemic. “We discussed how next time she’d spend more time with the kids, and we’d bring our dogs — who we decided would be great friends,” the cousin recalled. “She told me she was working on a story about sports in Palestine. I told her I would show the report to my son. It was the last feature she completed.”

The U.S. media is not known for its sympathy towards Palenstians, but as the evidence of Israeli culpability grew, The New York Times and The Washington Post undertook deep-dive investigations. After reviewing videos and audio recordings, inspecting the site and speaking to multiple witnesses, both publications determined that the bullets had come from an Israeli military vehicle. Israel refused to conduct a  military investigation, despite urging from the U.S. State Department, which also concluded the bullets had come from the convoy.

In a CNN interview on the anniversary of her death, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari offered a semi-apology while refusing to address the question of whether Akleh had been targeted intentionally. “She was a journalist, a very established journalist,”  he told CNN. “In Israel we value our democracy and in a democracy we see high value in journalism and in a free press. We want journalists to feel safe in Israel, especially in war time, even if they criticize us,” he added.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 20 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces in the past two decades.

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