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Silent procession held in San Francisco Embarcadero for journalists killed in the West Bank

SAN FRANCISCO – People around the world are remembering the lives of those lost in the West Bank, including the lost journalists.

A vigil and silent procession was held along the Embarcadero in San Francisco on Saturday.

More than 140 journalists and media professionals are estimated to have been killed while working in the West Bank since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, according to Gaza’s government media office.

But Jennifer Zacharia said journalists have been targeted for much longer.

“It is an ongoing, deliberate attack on journalists,” Zachariah said.

Her cousin, Shireen Abu Akleh, was murdered two years ago.

“Shireen was a hardworking, honest, very compassionate, funny, very funny woman and she had a great sense of humor,” Zachariah said. “She really cared about every story she did. She examined it; she learned everything she could.”

Abu Akleh was an American citizen reporting news in Palestine. She was in the middle of telling a story when she was shot and killed on May 11, 2022.

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“She walked down the street with her colleagues in full press gear,” Zachariah said. “There was no fighting, there was nothing. They went towards the military vehicles to identify themselves and while they were walking back her colleague was shot and then a sniper shot her between her press jacket and press helmet.”

Zachariah said her cousin was a well-known journalist and she believes her death was targeted. She said her cousin continued to be targeted after her death.

“They attacked the porters and beat them so severely with clubs that they almost dropped the coffin that Shireen was in,” Zachariah said. “Her family was afraid they would take the body because Israelis were known to take and hold Palestinian bodies.”

Isabeau Doucet is one of the organizers of the vigil and procession. She said she wanted to create a space where people could mourn Abu Akleh on the anniversary of her death, as well as all the other journalists who have passed away.

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“This is absolutely unprecedented,” Doucet said of the journalists killed in Gaza. “This has never happened in my life. This is more journalists than were killed in World War II.”

Doucet said this conflict is exactly the time when journalists are needed most.

The FBI has opened an investigation into Abu Akleh’s death. It’s still going on.

“What we want is justice for Shireen, we want a thorough investigation,” Zachariah said. “We want the people responsible to be held accountable.”

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