WASHINGTON - The family of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by an Israeli soldier, on Tuesday praised a US decision to open a probe into her death.

"This is an important step," a statement from the Palestinian-American family said, adding that US authorities have a responsibility to investigate, "when a US citizen is killed abroad, especially when they were killed, like Shireen, by a foreign military".

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed on Monday that they would open an investigation into the killing.

This follows months of calls from Abu Akleh's family as well as Palestinian solidarity groups and human rights defenders for an independent probe in order to hold the killers accountable.

Several investigations, including one by Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and Forensic Architecture, have concluded that Akleh was "targeted" by an Israeli sniper.

Collating evidence from eyewitnesses, videos, and 3-D reconstructions, the Al-Haq-Forensic Architecture investigation showed that Shireen's press vest was clearly visible when she was targeted and that no other shots were set off in the area.

Israel has said it conducted its own investigation, however, no action has been taken against any Israeli soldier.

Israeli military investigations have long drawn criticism from rights groups and Palestinians who charge that they are not independent or effective, citing a low indictment rate.

The killing of the veteran Al Jazeera reporter took place during an army operation in Jenin refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on May 11.