US says Israeli forces ‘likely responsible’ for killing Al Jazeera journalist
Washington, Jul 4 (EFE).- An investigation into who fired the bullet that killed Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May was inconclusive but Israeli forces were “likely responsible” for her death, the United States department of state said on Monday.
Abu Akleh was shot dead while covering an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on May 11. Her death sparked anger across the Palestinian territory and internationally.
The Palestinian Authority handed the bullet to a US team of forensic experts in Washington for examination over the weekend.
“Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion,” spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, but he added that “gunfire from IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.”
The US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC) that has overseen the investigation “found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances” during the IDF-led military operation against militant Palestinian factions in Jenin.
Price thanked Israel and the Palestinian Authority for their cooperation in clarifying the circumstances of the Palestinian-American reporter’s death.
“We will remain engaged with Israel and the PA on next steps and urge accountability,” Price added.
The Palestinian Authority, which carried out its own investigation in May, accused the Israeli army of killing Akleh.
Israel, which at first rejected that its troops were behind Abu Akleh’s death, said later that it needed to examine the bullet to determine its origin.
US president Joe Biden, who had called for an investigation into Abu Akleh’s death, is scheduled to visit Israel and the West Bank on July 13-14. EFE