Israel admits inadvertently killing Shireen Abu Akleh

On May 11, the American-Palestinian journalist sent by Al-Jazeera, Shireen Abu Akleh, was killed during an Israeli military operation. If the Palestinian Authority and television accused the Israeli army of the death of the reporter, Israel had hitherto firmly denied the facts.

But on Monday, the Israeli army recognized “a strong probability” of having killed the journalist involuntarily, reports AFP.

The latter was in the Palestinian camp of Jenin, a stronghold of the Palestinian armed factions in the north of the occupied West Bank. But armed clashes erupted as a special unit tried to arrest “suspects”.

The Israeli army on Monday published the “final conclusions” of its investigation, admitting that one of its soldiers had indeed fired in the direction of the Al-Jazeera star, who was wearing a bulletproof vest with the words ” press” and a helmet: “There is a strong possibility that Ms. Abu Akleh was accidentally hit by Israeli army fire which was aimed at suspects identified as Palestinian gunmen”.

This Monday, a senior Israeli military official also clarified during a press conference: “The soldier was not trying to target an Al-Jazeera journalist or a journalist in general. (…) The soldier misidentified his target and he is sorry about that”.

This fighter, posted about 200 meters behind Shireen Abu Akleh, would not have seen the inscription “press” on the front of his bulletproof vest. He would thus “not have done that deliberately”, according to the official.

An act not justifying the opening of an investigation?

Shireen Abu Akleh was shot in the back of the head. That same day, the Israeli military prosecutor’s office announced that there was “no suspicion of a criminal act justifying the opening of a criminal investigation by the military police”.

The spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reacted to the statement by the Israeli army, nevertheless judging that the Jewish state “must bear responsibility for its crime”.

In a press release echoed by AFP, the family of Shireen Abu Akleh for its part accused the Israeli authorities on Monday of “avoiding taking responsibility for the murder” of the journalist. “We remain deeply hurt, frustrated and disappointed,” the family lamented, calling on the United States for a “credible” investigation that sheds light on the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.

Abu Akleh’s family in a statement accused the Israeli government and its army of “attempting to conceal the truth and avoid all responsibility” for the journalist’s death.

“War criminals should not investigate their own crimes”

“We have known for over four months now that an Israeli soldier shot Shireen and killed her, as countless investigations by CNN, The Associated Press, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Al-Haq, B’tselem, the United Nations and others,” she said, adding that, “as expected, Israel has refused to take responsibility for Shireen’s murder.”

“Our family is not surprised by these findings, as it is obvious to everyone that Israeli war criminals cannot investigate their own crimes. However, we remain deeply hurt, frustrated and disappointed,” it said. read in the press release.

“To the extent that Israel cannot bring itself to bear its responsibilities, we demand a thorough investigation by the ICC,” the family added.

Abu Akleh was killed on May 11. The Palestinian Health Ministry said she was shot in the head while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Several major news agencies, including Al Jazeera, CNN, Associated Press, The Washington Post and The New York Times, conducted their own investigations, all of which concluded that Abu Akleh had been killed by an Israeli bullet.

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