(Washington) The United States ruled on Monday that American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was “likely” killed by a shot from an Israeli position, with no reason to believe her death was premeditated.
Posted at 10:38 am
Updated at 12:11 p.m
However, the American experts, who were trusted by the Palestinian Authority with the bullet that killed Al Jazeera’s star correspondent while she was covering an Israeli military operation in Jenin in the occupied West Bank on May 11, could not come to a definitive conclusion on the projectile’s origin, said State Department spokesman Ned Price in a statement.
These conclusions immediately drew opposing reactions: the Jewish state insisted that it itself conducted an investigation into the famous bullet in the presence of American security officials, although the Palestinian Authority has still refused to charge it with the ball, while the Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh, on Twitter denounced an attempt to “hide the truth”.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has called for an international investigation and has accused the United States of being “complimentary” in the journalist’s death.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid issued a press release deploring the “tragic” death of Mme Abu Akleh and said the Jewish state’s investigation had concluded that “there was no intent to harm him.”
Israeli fire, according to the UN
The death of this popular and respected Al Jazeera journalist has rocked the Middle East.
Equipped with a bulletproof vest clearly marked “Press” and a helmet, she was shot in the head and another journalist was shot and injured while on the outskirts of the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of Palestinian armed factions hosted by Israeli forces carried out a raid that day.
Both the Palestinian Authority and Al Jazeera, as well as Qatar, the channel’s sponsoring country, immediately accused the Israeli army of killing them.
Israel has consistently denied these allegations, saying it is impossible to know the exact origin of the shooting, be it an Israeli or a Palestinian, and continues to rule out any intentional shooting.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights concluded on June 24 that the Israeli army was responsible, while like the United States it ruled out a deliberate shooting, an investigation nonetheless described by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz as “unfounded.” ‘ was dismissed.
For their part, the journalist’s family said in a press release shared on Twitter that they were “appalled” by the lack of a formal conclusion on the origin of the shooting.
“We will continue to demand justice for Shireen and for the Israeli military and government to be held accountable, despite attempts to obscure the reality of what happened on May 11,” they wrote.
The Palestinian authorities had always refused to hand over the deadly projectile to the Israeli army and finally entrusted it to the Americans in the hope of an independent assessment.
But the Israeli army said Monday it conducted a “ballistics survey” of the projectile — 5.56mm caliber and fired from a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle, according to the Palestinian prosecutor — in the presence of “officials.” security forces.
In its statement, the US State Department merely notes that the “extremely detailed scientific analysis” was conducted by “independent and third-party experts in a process supervised by the United States.”
A Palestinian official told AFP on Sunday, on condition of anonymity, that the possibility of Israel investigating the bullet entrusted to the United States raises questions about whether the Americans can be “trusted.”
For the remainder of their analysis, US authorities say they have had “full access” to investigations by the Israeli Defense Forces and the Palestinian Authority over the past few weeks.
” United States […] “continue to promote cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on this important matter” and urge “accountability” on this issue, Ned Price added.
These latest developments come less than 10 days ahead of a visit by US President Joe Biden to Israel and the West Bank, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, as part of his first tour of the Middle East since joining the White House .