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

Strong ruble could hurt Russian businesses, official warns

MOSCOW (AP) — As the ruble strengthens to levels not seen in seven years, Russia’s minister of economic development warned Wednesday that the country’s businesses could suffer if the trend persists. The ruble hit all-time lows in the first weeks after Russia sent troops into Ukraine in late February, dropping as much as 50%, to […]
5 hours ago
FILE Cancer Campaigner Deborah James, left and Steve Bland pose for a photo with the award for Best...
Associated Press

Deborah James, UK cancer research campaigner, dies at 40

LONDON (AP) — Deborah James, a British broadcaster who raised millions for cancer research and was recognized by Prince William for her work, has died. She was 40. James hosted a BBC podcast called “You, Me and The Big C” in which she spoke in a no-nonsense approach about living with bowel cancer. Her candid […]
5 hours ago
FILE - A truck drives past cases of beer at the Budejovicky Budvar brewery in Ceske Budejovice, Cze...
Associated Press

Czech brewer Budvar again increases net profit amid pandemic

PRAGUE (AP) — Budvar, the Czech brewer that has been in a long legal dispute with U.S. beer giant Anheuser-Busch over use of the Budweiser brand, increased its net profit by some 10% for the second straight year as it saw record output and exports despite the coronavirus pandemic. Budejovicky Budvar NP, a 126-year-old state-owned […]
5 hours ago
FILE - John Wood, committee investigative staff counsel, for the House select committee investigati...
Associated Press

Lawyer who left Jan. 6 panel seeking Missouri US Senate seat

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An attorney who held key roles in the George W. Bush administration and who left his post last week as a senior investigator for the U.S. House committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection said Wednesday he is running for a Missouri U.S. Senate seat as an independent. John F. Wood announced […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

The worst hidden travel fees and how to avoid them

With travel prices soaring, customers might be tempted to pick the cheapest base option they find. But the base price of airfare and hotels represents only a fraction of the total costs. A parade of add-on fees await any traveler trying to navigate the checkout process, ballooning the final price. Experts call it “drip pricing.” […]
5 hours ago
Sponsored Content by

With travel prices soaring, customers might be tempted to pick the cheapest base option they find. But the base price of airfare and hotels represents only a fraction of the total costs. A parade of add-on fees await any traveler trying to navigate the checkout process, ballooning the final price. Experts call it “drip pricing.” […]

Sponsored Articles

...
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.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Palestinians: Israel deliberately killed Al Jazeera reporter