U.S. officials have concluded that gunfire from Israeli positions likely killed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh but that there was ‘no reason to believe’ her shooting was intentional, the State Department said Monday.
The finding, in a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price, came after what the U.S. said were inconclusive tests under U.S. oversight of the bullet recovered from Abu Akleh’s body.It said ‘independent, third-party examiners’ had conducted an ‘extremely detailed forensic analysis.’
‘Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion’ as to who fired the shot,’ Price said in the statement.
Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American correspondent who had American citizenship and was well known throughout the Arab world, was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military raid on May 11 in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian eyewitnesses, including her crew, say Israeli troops killed her and that there were no militants in the immediate vicinity.
Israel says she was killed during a complex battle with Palestinian militants and that only a forensic analysis of the bullet would confirm whether it was fired by an Israeli soldier or a Palestinian militant.It has strongly denied she was deliberately targeted, but says an Israeli soldier may have hit her by mistake during an exchange of fire with a militant.
U.S. security officials had examined the results of separate Palestinian and Israeli investigations and ‘concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh,’ Price said.
Well-known Palestinian television personality Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, (pictured) who had American citizenship, was killed during a raid on the occupied West Bank town of Jenin in May
Yellow tape marks bullet holes on a tree and a portrait and flowers create a makeshift memorial on May 19, 2022, at the site whereAbu Akleh was shot and killed in the West Bank city of Jenin.The Palestinian Authority on Saturday, July 2, said it has given the bullet that killed her to American forensic experts, taking a step toward resolving a standoff with Israel over the investigation into her death
The U.S. ‘found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances during an IDF-led military operation against factions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,’ Price said.
The Israeli military presented the findings as part of its own investigation in a statement that was likely to anger the Palestinian Authority, which had adamantly rejected any Israeli role in the probe and refused to share the bullet with Israeli authorities.
The military said that while the bullet remained in the custody of U.S.officials throughout the process, it was examined by Israeli experts in a forensic laboratory in Israel.
The body of slain Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, lies on the ground while her colleague, Shatha Hanaysheh, covers her mouth in shock as firing continues
The Palestinian flag-draped body of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is brought to the news channel’s office in the West Bank city of Ramallah
Israeli police confront with mourners as they carry the casket of slain Al Jazeera News Today Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral in east Jerusalem on May 13