Israeli gunfire likely killed journalist Abu Akleh, Washington says
The US conclusion drew mixed reactions from Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist and star correspondent for Al-Jazeera, was killed on May 11 in the occupied West Bank by Israeli Defense Forces gunfire.
The The United States ruled on Monday that Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was “likely” killed by fire from an Israeli position, with no reason to believe her death was intentional.
American experts, to whom the Palestinian Authority had entrusted the bullet that killed the star correspondent of Al-Jazeera while she was covering an Israeli military operation on May 13 in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, do not However, they were unable to reach a definitive conclusion as to the origin of the projectile, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
These conclusions immediately gave rise to contrasting reactions on the Israeli and Palestinian sides: the Jewish state insisted on the fact that it had itself carried out an examination of the famous bullet, in the presence of American security officials, even though the Palestinian Authority had always refused to give him the ball, while Ramallah denounced an attempt to hide the truth.
“We do not accept attempts to hide the truth and we are not afraid to blame Israel, which bears responsibility for the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh.
— Hussein al-Sheikh, Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs
The death of Ms. Abu Akleh, a highly regarded and recognized Al Jazeera journalist, has shaken the Middle East.
Equipped with a bullet-proof vest clearly marked with the words press and a helmet, she had been the victim of a shot in the head and another journalist had been wounded by bullet while ;they had gone to the outskirts of the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of the Palestinian armed factions where Israeli forces were carrying out a raid that day.
Tant l' Palestinian Authority that Al-Jazeera, along with the channel's funding country, Qatar, immediately accused the Israeli army of killing her.
Israel has consistently denied these accusations, saying it is impossible to know the exact origin of the shooting, Israeli or Palestinian, and continues to rule out a deliberate shooting in any event. .
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights concluded on June 24 that the Israeli army was responsible while ruling out, like the United States, a deliberate firing, an investigation nonetheless dismissed as baseless by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
For their part, the journalist's family said they were appalled at the lack of conclusion as to the origin of the shooting, in a press release shared on Twitter.
The Palestinian authorities had always refused to hand over the fatal projectile to the Israeli army and finally handed it over to the Americans in the hope of an independent expertise.
< p class="e-p">But the Israeli army said on Monday it had conducted a ballistic examination of the projectile, 5.56mm caliber and fired by a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle, according to the Palestinian prosecutor, in the presence of security officials.
In its statement, the US State Department simply indicates that the extremely detailed scientific analysis was carried out by independent experts and by a third party, through a process overseen by the United States.
A Palestinian official said on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity, that the possibility of Israel examining the bullet entrusted to the United States raised questions about whether the Americans could be trusted. .
For the rest of their analysis, US authorities say they have had full access to investigations by Israeli forces and the Palestinian Authority in recent weeks.
“The United States continues to encourage cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in this important matter and urges that that accounts be given in this regard.
— Ned Price, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State
These latest developments come less than ten days before a visit by US President Joe Biden in Israel and the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, as part of his first tour of the Middle East since assuming the White House.