The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) presented on Thursday the conclusions of the initial investigation into the incident that caused the death of the journalist from Al-Jazeera Shireen Abu Akleh. Among the results of the reconstruction of the reporter’s murder, the institution pointed out that one of the possibilities is that one of her soldiers fired from a position 200 meters from where the professional was hit. That uniformed man is identified, although it is key to have ballistic expertise to determine his responsibility.
“The night in question (May 11, 2022), IDF soldiers carried out a counter-terrorism operation in the Jenin area, with the aim of arresting suspected terrorists. During the activity in the Jenin camp, Palestinian gunmen fired continuously and indiscriminately. The Palestinian gunmen also fired directly and threw explosives at IDF soldiers and military vehicles, who were hit”, states an IDF statement.
According to Israel, the acquisition of the bullet for a professional ballistics test could determine what happened. The IDF stated that, for the time being, the Palestinian Authority has not cooperated with the request for a joint investigation or with the request to transmit the results of his investigation, or the bullet, to the IDF. “Israel has offered the Palestinian and American representatives to be present and to participate in the professional, pathological and ballistic tests, as well as the forensic examination of the bullet. This offer was received without willingness to cooperate or respond, “they maintain.
According to Israel, when the soldiers left the area towards the end of the operation, in daylight, “journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was present in the combat zone during the exchange of fire, was hit”.
The report presented develops two hypotheses. The initial investigation concluded that it is not possible to unequivocally determine the origin of the shots that struck and killed Abu Akleh.
“First of all, hundreds of bullets were fired by Palestinian gunmen from various locations. Also dozens of bullets were fired at IDF vehicles, which is also the direction Ms. Abu Akleh was facing, making this a possible source of the shots that struck and killed her”, explains the IDF.
“The second possibility is that, during the exchange of fire between the Palestinian gunmen and the IDF soldiers, a soldier fired a few bullets from a designated firing hole in an IDF vehicle using a telescopic sight at a Palestinian gunman who was firing at the said vehicle. The Palestinian gunman fired multiple shots at the IDF soldier, and there is a possibility that Ms. Abu Akleh, who was close to the Palestinian gunman from behind, was hit by the soldier’s shots towards the Palestinian gunmen. The distance between the IDF vehicle and Ms. Abu Akleh was approximately 200 meters,” they continue.
The IDF expressed its “deep condolences on the death of Shireen Abu Akleh”while they consider “it is very important to preserve freedom of the press” so “they will continue to act to guarantee it.”