Journalist Al Jazeera probably killed by Israel, Israel itself concludes

Journalist Al Jazeera probably killed by Israel, Israel itself concludes
Journalist Al Jazeera probably killed by Israel, Israel itself concludes

NOS Newstoday, 16:57

  • Ties Brock

    correspondent Israel/Palestinian territories

  • Ties Brock

    correspondent Israel/Palestinian territories

Nearly four months after the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Israel has released the results of an internal investigation into her death. The Israeli military says there is a “high probability” that the Al Jazeera reporter was killed by gunfire from an Israeli soldier. That would have happened by accident: there will be no criminal investigation.

The journalist was reporting an Israeli raid on the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank on May 11, when she was struck in the head by a bullet. At the time, Abu Akleh was wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest clearly marked with the word ‘press’. A fellow journalist was injured.

Her employer Al Jazeera and the Palestinian authorities soon spoke of a deliberate attack on the journalist and held Israel responsible. International media such as CNN, AP news agency and research collective Bellingcat also concluded that Israel was responsible for her death, as did the United Nations human rights agency.

Israel now also comes to the conclusion that Abu Akleh was probably killed by Israeli fire. She is said to have been shot dead by a soldier targeting Palestinian gunmen. With that statement, the army deviates from the initial claim by the Israeli authorities that Abu Akleh was believed to have been killed by a Palestinian gunman.


The Israeli army chief of staff called the journalist’s death “an unfortunate incident”. Israel further maintains that it cannot be ruled out that Abu Akleh was hit by a bullet from a Palestinian, who aimed at the Israeli military. But according to eyewitnesses, including colleagues of the shot journalist, there were no Palestinian militants in her immediate vicinity.

Israel says it has investigated the matter by questioning military personnel and analyzing, among other things, the fatal bullet, the site of Abu Akleh’s death and audio and video recordings. The army is also said to have studied material from foreign news organizations.

Abu Akleh’s family has called the Israeli investigation an attempt to cover up the truth and avoid responsibility. Although the bereaved are not surprised, they are “deeply affected, frustrated and disappointed,” they said in a statement. The family demands an in-depth investigation by the United States and the International Criminal Court.

No criminal investigation

The Israeli military confirmed today that there will be no criminal investigation into the death of Abu Akleh in Israel. It was previously reported by Israeli media that there would be no criminal prosecution. According to the military prosecutor, there are no indications that soldiers have committed criminal offences. In addition, an investigation would “provoke resistance and controversy within the military and Israeli society,” the Haaretz newspaper reported.

Shireen Abu Akleh is one of dozens of Palestinians shot dead this year in Israeli military raids on the occupied West Bank. According to Palestinian figures, there have been more than 90 since the beginning of the year.

Some of the Palestinian fatalities were involved in attacks or firefights with Israeli soldiers, but unarmed Palestinians were also killed. Israel says the raids are designed to destroy terrorist networks. According to the AP news agency, a total of 19 people have been killed in several Palestinian attacks on the Israeli side since March.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Journalist Jazeera killed Israel Israel concludes

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