Jerusalem, Sep 5 (EFE).- There is a “high possibility” that Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was mistakenly shot dead by a soldier from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) while she was covering a raid in Jenin nearly four months ago, an Israeli military probe found Monday.
“There is a high possibility that Abu Akleh was accidentally hit by IDF gunfire fired toward suspects identified as armed Palestinian gunmen during an exchange of fire in which life-threatening, widespread, and indiscriminate shots were fired toward IDF soldiers,” the Israeli military said in a statement.
However, a senior IDF official pointed out in a press conference that the army would not launch a criminal investigation into the case, saying the Israeli troops acted correctly in a firefight with several Palestinians during the operation in the West Bank town.
“A comprehensive examination of the incident, based on all the findings, found that under the circumstances of the case, there is no suspicion of a criminal offense that justifies the opening of a Military Police investigation,” he said.
Abu Akleh’s family issued a statement on Twitter saying they were not “surprised” by the IDF’s statement but still “deeply hurt, frustrated and disappointed.”
“As expected, Israel has refused to take responsibility for murdering Shireen. Our family is not surprised by this outcome since it’s obvious to anyone that Israeli war criminals cannot investigate their own crimes,” they said.
According to the Israeli army, the Palestinian-American journalist could have been hit by Palestinian gunfire since there might have been militants in the vicinity of Abu Akleh when she was killed.
But eyewitnesses insisted that Palestinian armed groups were not present in the area, and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) accused the Israeli forces of “deliberately” targeting and killing Abu Akleh.
The Israeli military official indicated that the soldiers opened fire “with the intent of neutralizing the terrorists who shot at IDF soldiers, also from the area in which Ms. Shireen Abu Akleh was present.”
After the PNA’s official investigation, the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was handed to a forensic team supervised by the United States, which concluded that the shot likely came from Israeli positions.EFE