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White House slams killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, calls it 'affront to media freedom'

The State Department said Israel was able to carry out a “thorough” investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing when asked if the US would initiate its own investigation into the killing of the Palestinian-American journalist.

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The White House on Wednesday slammed the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, calling the crime an “affront to media freedom everywhere.”

Meanwhile, the State Department said Israel could carry out a “thorough” investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing.

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Abu Akleh, 51, was shot and killed earlier as she was covering an Israeli military raid on a Palestinian camp in the occupied West Bank.

Asked if the US would carry out their own investigation into the US citizen’s death, State Department Spokesman Ned Price suggested no. Price said Israel was able to “conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation” into the killing of Abu Akleh.

Her outlet, Al Jazeera, said Israel deliberately targeted and killed Abu Akleh. Israeli officials accused Palestinian gunmen of being behind the killing but later backtracked and said they were investigating where the gunfire came from.

“Shireen was a reporting legend, followed closely by those who care about the region and is mourned by all who knew her,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a series of tweets.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the killing of Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, and injuries to producer Ali Samoudi, today in the West Bank,” Psaki said.

Psaki also said the US demanded an immediate and thorough investigation and full accountability.

World Press Freedom Day was held last week amid a noticeable increase in crackdown on free speech worldwide.

“It is heart-wrenching to see the killing of a journalist one week later,” Psaki said. “[Abu Akleh’s] death is a tragic loss and an affront to media freedom everywhere.”

Read more: US, EU demand investigation into reporter Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing in Israel