Israeli troops deliberately shot Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Palestinian probe finds
Israeli military deliberately shot and killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, an investigation by the Palestinian Authority has concluded.
Abu Akleh was shot in the head as she tried to flee an Israeli raid the city of Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, on 11 May.
Another journalist working for the publication Al-Quds, was also shot and wounded in the incident.
Israel has continuously denied targeting journalists, arguing Abu Akleh was either shot by reckless Palestinian militants aiming for its tanks or was hit accidentally by Israeli gunfire.
Yet the Palestinian Authority said forensic evidence concedes she was hit by Israeli, while several eyewitnesses suggest Abu Akleh was targeted.
It added the bullet which struck the reporter will undergo ballistic analysis to determine who fired the fatal shot.
Palestinian Authority said it would not hand the fatal bullet over to Israel (AP)
The investigation found there were no Palestinian militants in the immediate area where Abu Akleh was killed, with the only known ones to be on the other side of the convoy some 300 metres away from her.
They also did not have a direct line of sight to the correspondent, unlike the convoy, further quashing Israel’s claims.
The Palestinian Authority stated Abu Akleh was among a group of reporters who were all wearing helmets and vests labelled ‘press’ – which could be seen by Israeli troops.
It said soldiers “directly and deliberately” targeted them as they tried to escape the scene.
“The only shooting was by the Occupation forces with the aim of killing,” Palestinian Attorney General Akram Al Khateeb said.
Israel has called for a joint investigation – with participation from the US – demanding the bullet be handed over for analysis but the Palestinian Authority has refused.
Palestinian leaders suggested Israel cannot be trusted to conduct nor cooperate to investigate the conduct of its own military, with Mr Al Khateeb adding photos of the bullet will not even be shared “to deprive them of a new lie”.
Meanwhile, the US state department said it had not received a formal request for assistance from Israel.
The Palestinian Authority said it would share the ballistic analysis with the International Criminal Couty and other international parties once it was concluded.
Activists have argued Israel has a poor record of investigating its troops’ violence against Palestinians, with cases often languishing for time before being quietly closed.
Israel has not immediately responded to the report – which echoes the conclusion of a preliminary investigation two weeks ago – but it is likely to reject it as biassed.