Palestinians: Israel deliberately killed Al Jazeera reporter

May 26, 2022, 9:11 AM | Updated: 9:32 am
FILE - Yellow tape marks bullet holes on a tree and a portrait and flowers create a makeshift memor...

FILE - Yellow tape marks bullet holes on a tree and a portrait and flowers create a makeshift memorial at the site where Palestinian-American Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed in the West Bank city of Jenin, May 19, 2022. The Palestinian Authority said Thursday, May 26, 2022, its investigation into the shooting death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh proves she was deliberately killed by Israeli forces. Israel is likely to reject the findings as biased and unfounded. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)

(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian Authority on Thursday announced the results of its investigation into the shooting death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, saying it had proven she was deliberately killed by Israeli forces as she tried to flee.

The findings echoed the results of a preliminary investigation announced nearly two weeks ago and were widely expected. Israel is likely to reject the report as biased and unfounded.

Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American reporter for Al Jazeera’s Arabic service, was shot in the head on May 11 during an Israeli military raid in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

Witnesses and Palestinian officials have said she was hit by Israeli fire. Israel says she was shot during a battle between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants. It says that only a ballistic analysis of the bullet — which is held by the Palestinian Authority — and the soldiers’ guns can determine who fired the fatal shot.

Announcing the results of his probe at a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah,, Palestinian Attorney General Akram Al Khateeb said he had determined there were no militants in the immediate area where Abu Akleh was located.

“The only shooting was by the occupation forces, with the aim of killing,” he said.

Abu Akleh was in a group of journalists wearing helmets and protective vests marked “press.” He said the army saw the journalists and knew they were journalists.

He accused Israel of shooting her “directly and deliberately” as she tried to escape. He also repeated the Palestinian position that the bullet will not be handed over to the Israelis for study. He said they decided not even to show images of the bullet “to deprive them of a new lie.”

Al Khateeb said his investigation was based on interviews with witnesses, an inspection of the scene and a forensic medical report.

There was no immediate response from Israel.

Israel denies targeting journalists and has offered two possible scenarios, saying she was either shot by Palestinian militants who were firing recklessly at an Israeli army convoy or that she was hit by Israeli gunfire aimed at a nearby militant. The military has identified the rifle that may have been used in that scenario, but says it needs to test the bullet to make any final determination.

An AP reconstruction of events has lent support to eyewitnesses who say she was shot by Israeli troops. But the reconstruction said it was impossible to reach a conclusive finding without further forensic analysis.

Palestinian witnesses say there were no militants or clashes anywhere near her. The only known militants in the area were on the other side of the convoy, some 300 meters (yards) from her position. They did not have a direct line of sight, unlike the convoy itself, which was some 200 (meters) away on a long straight road.

Israel has publicly called for a joint investigation with the PA, with U.S. participation, and has asked the PA to hand over the bullet for testing. But the State Department said Wednesday that it had received no formal request for assistance from either side two weeks after her death.

The PA has refused to hand over the bullet to Israel or cooperate with it in any way, saying Israel cannot be trusted to investigate its own conduct. Rights groups say Israel has a poor record of investigating when security forces shoot Palestinians, with cases often languishing for months or years before being quietly closed.

The PA administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Hussein Al Sheikh, a top Palestinian official, said Thursday’s report would be shared with the U.S. administration. Copies will also be delivered to her family and to Al Jazeera, he said.

The Palestinians say they will share their results with international parties, including the International Criminal Court, which launched an investigation into possible Israeli war crimes last year. Israel has rejected that probe as being biased against it and is not cooperating with it.

The severe distrust means the Israeli and Palestinian investigations into Abu Akleh’s death are unfolding separately, with neither likely to accept any conclusions reached by the other.

Each side is in sole possession of potentially crucial evidence. Ballistic analysis could match the bullet to a specific firearm based on a microscopic signature, but only if investigators have access to both. Lt. Col. Amnon Shefler, a military spokesman, told the AP the military has additional footage from that day, but declined to say what it shows or when it would be released, citing the ongoing investigation.

Palestinians are still mourning Abu Akleh, a widely known and respected on-air correspondent who rose to fame two decades ago, during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israeli rule. The 51-year-old documented the harsh realities of life under Israeli military rule — now well into its sixth decade with no end in sight — for viewers across the Arab world.

Jenin has long been a bastion of Palestinian militants, and several recent attacks inside Israel have been carried out by young men from in and around the town. Israel has continued to carry out near-daily raids in Jenin since Abu Akleh’s death, which it says are aimed at preventing more.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war and has built settlements where nearly 500,000 Israelis live alongside nearly 3 million Palestinians. The Palestinians want the territory to form the main part of their future state, but peace talks broke down more than a decade ago, and Israel’s dominant right-wing parties are opposed to Palestinian statehood.

The PA itself is seen by many Palestinians as a corrupt and authoritarian body that aids the occupation by coordinating with Israel on security matters. Any cooperation with Israel on the Abu Akleh investigation would likely spark a popular backlash among Palestinians, who view her as a martyr to both journalism and their national cause.

___

Associated Press writer Joseph Krauss in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Death penalty looms over NYC bike path attack jury selection

NEW YORK (AP) — About 200 potential jurors for the trial of a man charged with killing eight people on a New York City bike path in a terror attack filled out questionnaires Thursday posing questions about the death penalty in a case in which the U.S. Justice Department still has not indicated if it […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Thursday 8/11/2022

An afternoon pullback left stock indexes on Wall Street mixed Thursday, erasing most of their morning gains fueled by another encouraging report about inflation. The S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower. The Nasdaq also fell, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose slightly. Investors weighed new data showing inflation at the wholesale level slowed more than […]
15 hours ago
FILE - A membrane covers hundreds of feet of garbage and various pipes that direct leachate to a tr...
Associated Press

Landfill odor: Health problems, but no elevated cancer risk

Missouri’s health department on Thursday announced findings of a lengthy examination of the troubled Bridgeton Landfill in suburban St. Louis, determining that the foul odor emitting from the landfill created health problems but did not increase the risk of cancer. The finding of the yearslong investigation by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Bream selected as Fox Sunday host; Wallace gets CNN show

NEW YORK (AP) — Shannon Bream, a Fox News Channel veteran who is the network’s chief legal correspondent, is the new anchor of the “Fox News Sunday” political talk show, filling a role left vacant when Chris Wallace left last December. Meanwhile, CNN said Thursday that Wallace’s interview program will air on the network Sundays […]
15 hours ago
A man shops for vegetables at a market in Mexico City, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022. Mexico's annual infla...
Associated Press

Mexico raises key interest rate to 8.5%, highest in 16 years

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s central bank has raised its interbank interest rate by 0.75% to 8.5% Thursday — the highest level in the 16 years since comparable bank policies went into effect. The Bank of Mexico cited continuing inflationary pressures, and predicted inflation would peak at 8.5% in the third quarter. “Inflationary pressures derived […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Attorney Drew Findling makes remarks regarding his client, Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hil...
Associated Press

Trump hires prominent Atlanta attorney for election probe

ATLANTA (AP) — Donald Trump has hired a prominent Atlanta criminal defense attorney known for defending famous rappers to represent him in matters related to the special grand jury that’s investigating whether the former president illegally tried to interfere with the 2020 election in Georgia. Drew Findling’s clients have included Cardi B, Migos and Gucci […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Palestinians: Israel deliberately killed Al Jazeera reporter