There is a “high probability” that the death of well-known Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh nearly four months ago was due to gunfire from Israeli soldiers. This is according to a study by the Israeli Defense Ministry.
The journalist worked for the Arab news channel Al Jazeera. She was reporting on an Israeli military operation in the Palestinian city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank on May 11 when she was shot dead.
Her death sent shockwaves across the Middle East. Both the Palestinian authorities and Al Jazeera, as well as Qatar – which funds the Arab news channel – immediately accused the Israeli army of killing her.
“It is likely that Ms. Abu Akleh was accidentally hit by Israeli army gunfire against suspects identified as armed Palestinians,” the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement. In addition, the ministry notes that the journalist may have been the victim of a Palestinian gunman.
According to an army official, the journalist was at no time identified as a member of the media. However, she was wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest with the word ‘press’ on it when she was shot in the head.
Israel said the shots fired could not be clearly attributed to anyone. There will therefore be no criminal investigation.
Abu Akleh’s family has criticized the Israeli army’s report, saying that Defense is trying to “cover up the truth and avoid responsibility.”
An American investigation shows that the bullet that killed the journalist probably came from an Israeli position, but she was not intentionally shot. (belga)