Ms. Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American reporter who was killed in the West Bank on Wednesday, was a household name across the Middle East.
JERUSALEM — Shireen Abu Akleh originally studied to be an architect but could not see a future for herself in the field. So she decided to go into journalism instead, becoming one of the most well-known Palestinian journalists.
“I chose journalism to be close to the people,” she said in a short reel shared by Al Jazeera soon after she was killed on Wednesday by gunfire in the West Bank. “It might not be easy to change the reality, but at least I was able to bring their voice to the world.”
A Palestinian American, Ms. Abu Akleh, 51, was a familiar face on the Al Jazeera network, where she spent 25 years reporting, making her name amid the violence of the Palestinian uprising known as the second intifada, which convulsed Israel and the occupied West Bank beginning in 2000.
She was shot in the head in the West Bank city of Jenin, Al Jazeera and the Palestinian Health Ministry said, blaming Israeli forces for her death. The Israeli military said on Twitter that “Palestinian armed gunfire” may have been responsible.
Mohammed Daraghmeh, the Ramallah bureau chief for the Arabic language news outlet Asharq News, who had been friends with Ms. Abu Akleh for many years, said she remained committed to covering all issues affecting the Palestinians, big and small.
He last spoke with her two days ago, he said, and told her that he did not think the events in Jenin were important enough for a journalist as senior as her to cover.
“But she went anyway,” he said. “She covered the story the way it should be done.”
It was not the biggest or political stories that most interested Ms. Abu Akleh but the smaller ones that showed how people lived, said Wessam Hammad, a news producer with Al Jazeera, who worked with her for 17 years. He said she would see a story where others would not.
“Sometimes I would say, ‘No, Shireen forget it, it’s not a big story.’” he said. “But she would always think about so many different angles on how we could do it, and how can we make it a very human and a very touching story about Palestinians that no other journalist would ever think to do.”