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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Friday night strongly condemned the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and called for “an immediate, thorough, transparent, and fair and impartial investigation.”

A press statement was approved by the 15 council members after language was removed emphasizing the importance of media freedom and the need for journalists working in dangerous areas to be protected at the insistence of China and Russia, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were private.

The council statement reiterated “that journalists should be protected as civilians” and also condemned the injury to Abu Akleh’s colleague.

Abu Akleh, 51, was a household name across the Arab world, revered for her coverage of Palestinian life under Israeli rule for the Al Jazeera satellite channel for the last 25 years.

She was shot dead Wednesday during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. Journalists who were with her, including an Al Jazeera colleague who was shot and wounded, said Israeli forces fired upon them even though they were clearly identifiable as reporters.

Anger at Abu Akleh’s killing escalated Friday when Israeli riot police pushed and beat pallbearers, causing them to briefly drop her casket in a shocking start to her funeral procession. It turned into perhaps the largest display of Palestinian nationalism in Jerusalem in a generation.

Israel says it is investigating the incident. It initially suggested she might have been shot by Palestinian militants, without providing evidence, but has since backtracked. Israel called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank and cooperates with it on security.

But the Palestinians rejected a joint investigation and demanded an independent international investigation.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for her killing and said he would immediately ask the International Criminal Court to investigate. The ICC launched an investigation into possible Israeli war crimes over a year ago, a probe Israel has rejected as biased.

The Security Council did not use the word international, calling for an impartial investigation and stressing the need to ensure accountability.

Negotiations on the council statement were led by Norway, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Norway’s U.N. Ambassador Mona Juul commended the “good collaboration,” calling the protection of journalists a priority for her country.

“We are particularly concerned about the rising trend in attacks on media works, and on women journalists in particular” Juul said in a statement.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Palestinian gunman dies days after clash with Israeli troops

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A Palestinian gunman who is the brother of a prominent Palestinian militant died Sunday after being critically wounded in clashes with Israeli forces, according to the Israeli hospital where he was being treated.

Daoud Zubeidi was wounded in clashes with the Israeli military in the West Bank city of Jenin on Friday. Zubeidi is the brother of Zakaria Zubeidi, a jailed Palestinian militant who briefly became one of Israel’s most wanted fugitives after tunneling out of a high-security prison last year. He was eventually caught and returned to prison.

Police said a 47-year-old member of a special Israeli commando unit was killed in those clashes.

Daoud Zubeidi was taken to Israel’s Rambam hospital where he was sedated and on a respirator and where his death was pronounced Sunday.

Israel has been carrying out raids in Jenin and other parts of the West Bank for weeks following a spate of Palestinian attacks against Israelis that have killed nearly 20 people. More than 30 Palestinians have been killed, most of them involved in attacks or clashes with the military. An unarmed woman and two apparent bystanders were also among those killed and rights groups say Israel often uses excessive force.

It was during the raids in Jenin on Wednesday that well-known Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed after being shot in the head.

The Palestinians, including fellow journalists who were with her, say she was killed by Israeli gunfire. The Israeli military says there was an exchange of fire with Palestinian gunmen at the time, and it’s unclear who fired the fatal bullet.

Abu Akleh was laid to rest Friday in Jerusalem in a mass funeral in which Israeli police pushed and beat mourners and pallbearers. Israeli police said they would conduct an investigation into the incident.

Abu Akleh’s death and the shocking scenes from her funeral drew condemnations from around the globe and calls for an investigation into her killing.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who has said there was a “considerable chance” that Abu Akleh was killed by Palestinian gunmen, said Sunday he stood behind the soldiers operating in Jenin.

“The state of Israel does not place any limits on the struggle against terrorism,” he told a meeting of his Cabinet. “We will continue in all the necessary actions to grant security to Israeli citizens.”

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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