US officials have concluded that there is a possibility of firing from Israeli basesBut that there was “no reason to believe” that his shooting was intentional, the State Department said on Monday.
In a statement by State Department spokesman Ned Price, the findings came after the US tested inconclusively under US inspection of a bullet recovered from the body of Abu Akleh. It said that “independent, third-party examiners” had conducted “extremely detailed forensic analysis”.
“Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, leaving no clear conclusion” about who fired the bullet, Price said in the statement.
Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American correspondent well known throughout the Arab world, wasCovering an Israeli military raid on the Janin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on May 11. Palestinian eyewitnesses, including his crew, say Israeli soldiers killed him and that there were no terrorists in the immediate vicinity.
Israel says he was killed during a complex battle with Palestinian terrorists and only a forensic analysis can confirm whether the bullet was fired by an Israeli soldier or a Palestinian terrorist. It strongly denies that he was deliberately targeted, but says that an Israeli soldier may have accidentally killed him during an exchange of fire with a terrorist.
Price said US security officials examined the results of separate Palestinian and Israeli investigations and “concluded that firing from IDF positions was possibly responsible for the death of Shirin Abu Aqleh.”
“The US finds no reason to believe that this was intentional, but rather the result of tragic circumstances during the IDF-led military campaign against Palestinian Islamic Jihad factions,” Price said.
Abu Akleh’s family said in a statement that they were “unreliable” that the investigation could not conclude who fired the shots that led to his death. There were “many eyewitnesses to the murder,” as well as “reports from several local and international media outlets, human rights organizations and the United Nations that an Israeli soldier fired the fatal shot,” he said.
The Israeli military presented the findings as part of its investigation in a statement that was likely to anger the Palestinian Authority, which strongly rejected any Israeli role in the investigation and shared the bullet with Israeli officials. had refused to do.
The military said the bullet remained in the custody of US officials throughout the process, but was examined by Israeli experts at a forensic laboratory in Israel.
Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Aviv Kohavi ordered the investigation to continue “using all available means”, in a statement. It said any decision on initiation of criminal investigation would be taken only after the operational investigation is completed.
The Palestinian Authority and Al Jazeera accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting Abu Akle within hours of his death. Al Jazeera called on the international community to “condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces responsible for deliberately targeting and killing our ally”.
An Associated Press reconstruction of his assassination supported the accounts of Palestinian eyewitnesses, including his crew, that he was killed by the Israeli military. Later investigations by CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post reached similar conclusions.
51-year-old Abu Akleh was born in Jerusalem. He began working for Al Jazeera in 1997 and regularly reports on camera from the Palestinian Territories.
CBS News correspondent imtiaz tyab Abu knew Akleh personally and worked with him in Jerusalem. He called him a kind and generous colleague who always tried to give a voice to those who were rarely heard.
violence took placeOn May 13, a huge crowd gathered to take his coffin from the hospital morgue to a church in Jerusalem’s Old City for his funeral. Video clips show Israeli riot police pushing mourners and releasing tear gas shells.
Al Jazeera said that Israel had warned Abu Akleh’s brother to limit the size of the funeral procession, and told him that no Palestinian flags should be displayed and no slogans should be raised, but they requested rejected.