A colleague of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has told Anadolu Agency about his fellow journalist's final moments before she was shot and killed while covering an Israeli army raid.
Veteran journalist Abu Akleh was among the reporters to rush to the scene in the northern city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday morning. She was escorted by a team of the Qatar-based network, including producer Ali Al Samoudi, who had arrived earlier.
Before Abu Akleh, 51, was killed near him, Al Samoudi said, he had been wounded by the Israeli forces.
Anadolu Agency met with Al Samoudi in the hospital, where he narrated what happened.
He said to avoid being targeted, they and the other journalists had made sure to stand in an area visible to the Israeli forces so the soldiers know their location.
As Abu Akleh arrived, the Israeli troops fired the first bullet toward them, which did not hit anyone, he recounted.
The second bullet struck him in the shoulder, he said, after which Abu Akleh shouted: "Ali got injured."
The third bullet was the deadly round that hit Abu Akleh in the head, killing her, said Al Samoudi.
Following the incident, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett claimed that armed Palestinians who he said were in the area were likely to blame for Abu Akleh's killing.
Al Samoudi rejected this account outright, saying: "We were in a place far from armed clashes with Palestinians, from where we couldn't reach that area as the Israeli forces sealed it off."
"The Israeli army directly and deliberately targeted us, and no Palestinian gunmen were in the area," Al Samoudi asserted.
B'Tselem rejects Israeli narrative
The Doha-based Al Jazeera television channel charged that Israeli forces deliberately and "in cold blood" shot the veteran reporter in the head.
B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, also rejected the Israeli narrative, saying it was "incorrect."
"Documentation of Palestinian gunfire distributed by Israeli military cannot be the gunfire that killed Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh," B'Tselem said on Twitter.
The group's spokesperson Kareem Jubran told Anadolu Agency that it had closely examined a video disseminated by the Israeli army, claiming that Abu Akleh was shot by a Palestinian gunman.
He said their research revealed that the angle of the shot that the video suggests killed Abu Akleh does not correspond to the location where she was killed.
Jubran also said that B'Tselem would conduct another comprehensive investigation.
'Assassinated in cold blood'
"In a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces assassinated in cold blood Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Palestine," Al Jazeera said in a statement, calling on the international community to hold the Israeli forces accountable for their "intentional targeting and killing" of the journalist.
Israel has carried out near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank recently.
Tensions have soared in the past weeks after a series of fatal attacks in Israel and deadly Israeli arrest raids across the occupied West Bank.
In Jenin, the Israeli army has blamed some of the attacks on residents and has stepped up raids in the area.