Israeli gunfire likely killed journalist Abu Akleh, Washington says

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Israeli fire likely killed journalist Abu Akleh, says Washington

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 fire from the Israeli Defense Forces.

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.

< p class="e-p">The American experts, to whom the Palestinian Authority had entrusted the bullet which killed the star correspondent of Al-Jazeera while she was covering on May 13 an Israeli military operation in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, however, could not reach a definitive conclusion as to the origin of the projectile, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. p>

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.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has called for an international investigation and accused the United States of complicity in the journalist's death.

The prime minister Israeli Yair Lapid, for his part, regretted in a press release the tragic death of Ms. Abu Akleh and indicated that the Hebrew State's investigation had concluded that there had been no intention to harm him.

The death of this much-loved and well-known Al-Jazeera journalist shook 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.

Both the Palestinian Authority and Al-Jazeera, as well as the country financing the channel, Qatar, immediately accused the Israeli army of having killed 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 any cause a deliberate shot.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights concluded on June 24 that the Israeli army was responsible while excluding, like the United States , a deliberate shooting, an investigation nevertheless dismissed as baseless by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

For their part, the journalist's family said they were appalled of the lack of a formal conclusion as to the origin of the shooting, in a press release shared on Twitter.

“We will continue to demand justice for Shireen and that the Israeli military and government be held accountable, despite attempts to mask the reality of what happened on May 11.

— The family of the slain journalist

The Palestinian authorities had always refused to hand over the fatal projectile to the Israeli army and eventually handed it over to Americans in hopes of independent expertise.

But the Israeli army said on Monday it conducted a ballistic examination of the projectile itself – 5.56mm caliber and fired from a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle, according to the Palestinian prosecutor – in the presence of security officials. Americans.

In its statement, the US State Department simply indicates that the extremely detailed scientific analysis was carried out by independent experts and of a third party, through a process overseen by the United States.

A Palestinian official told AFP on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity, that the possibility of Israel examining the bullet entrusted to the United States raises questions about whether the United States is carrying the bullet. the Americans could be trusted.

For the rest of their analysis, the American authorities say they have had full access to the investigations of the Israeli forces and the Authority in recent weeks. Palestinian Authority.

The United States […] continues to encourage cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in this important matter and urges that are held to account, Ned Price added.

These latest developments come less than ten days before a visit by US President Joe Biden to Israel and the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, as part of its first tour of the Middle East since its accession to the White House.

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