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UN probe finds Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire

Geneva, Jun 24 (EFE).- Slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by shots fired by Israeli security forces according to United Nations findings, the organization said Friday.

The UN’s human rights office (OHCHR) said the results of its independent investigation contradicted initial claims by Israel that Al Jazeera reporter Abu Akleh was killed by indiscriminate bullets fired by Palestinian armed groups as she covered a raid in Jenin, the West Bank.

“More than six weeks after the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and injury of her colleague Ali Sammoudi in Jenin on 11 May 2022, it is deeply disturbing that Israeli authorities have not conducted a criminal investigation,” the UN office’s spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said in a statement.

“We at the UN Human Rights Office have concluded our independent monitoring into the incident.

“All information we have gathered – including official information from the Israeli military and the Palestinian Attorney-General – is consistent with the finding that the shots that killed Abu Akleh and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from Israeli Security Forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians, as initially claimed by Israeli authorities,” she added.

UN experts visited the scene of the killing, studied photographic material, video footage and interviewed eye-witnesses as part of the investigation by the UN office led by Michelle Bachelet.

“According to our findings, on 11 May 2022, soon after 06h00, seven journalists, including Shireen Abu Akleh, arrived at the western entrance of the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank to cover an ongoing arrest operation by Israeli Security Forces and the ensuing clashes,” the UN statement said.

It added that, according to UN findings, the journalist chose a side street to avoid armed Palestinian groups in the camp and proceeded slowly to ensure they were seen by Israeli security forces.

There were no warnings or shooting taking place in that location at the time, the UN office said.

“At around 06h30, as four of the journalists turned into the street leading to the camp, wearing bulletproof helmets and flak jackets with “PRESS” markings, several single, seemingly well-aimed bullets were fired towards them from the direction of the Israeli Security Forces.

“One single bullet injured Ali Sammoudi in the shoulder, another single bullet hit Abu Akleh in the head and killed her instantly,” the statement added.

The UN office is urging Israeli authorities to open a criminal investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing as well as the deaths of other Palestinians in the West Bank at the hands of Israeli security forces.

Since the beginning of this year, Israeli forces have killed 58 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 13 children, the UN said.EFE


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