- The South African government has weighed in on the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
- Dirco has condemned the killing.
- Akleh was shot dead on Wednesday while covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has condemned the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, allegedly by the Israeli defence force.
Akleh was shot dead on Wednesday while covering an Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, News24 previously reported. Another Al Jazeera journalist, producer Ali al-Samud, was wounded.
"The targeting of journalists in the occupied territories and in conflict zones like Ukraine and Afghanistan, appears to be part of a pattern of silencing the free press and is an outright contravention of international law.
"In a situation of occupation, protest action is one of the few ways in which Palestinians can make their voices heard. International human rights law obligates the occupying power to allow for the freedom of expression and protests," Dirco director-general Zane Dangor said in a statement on Wednesday.
Dangor added that in other conflict zones, civilians and other non-combatants should be protected, in keeping with the principle of distinction and other protective measures of the Geneva Conventions.
Dirco is also of the view that journalists' ability to cover events as they take place is essential and that efforts to intimidate and assassinate members of the media cannot be allowed to continue with impunity.
The Qatar-based Al Jazeera reportedly alleged that 51-year-old Akleh was shot deliberately and "in cold blood" by Israeli forces. But Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said it was "likely" that Palestinian gunfire killed her.
News24 further reported that the Israeli army confirmed that it conducted an operation in the Jenin refugee camp but denied it had deliberately targeted a reporter.
The army reportedly stated that there was an exchange of fire between suspects and security forces and that it was "investigating the event and looking into the possibility that journalists were hit by the Palestinian gunmen".
-Additional reporting by AFP
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