Al Jazeera journalist was killed in ‘targeted attack’ by IDF troops, CNN suggests

CNN says its inquiry into the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin several weeks ago has suggested she was deliberately targeted by Israeli forces.

Abu Akleh was shot dead while covering clashes between soldiers and Palestinian gunmen.

In an item headlined, “‘They were shooting directly at the journalists’: New evidence suggests Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in targeted attack by Israeli forces,” the network says it has new evidence to support the claim.

A CNN headline, on the network’s website, regarding the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, May 24, 2022. (Screenshot)

First, using audio from a video of the moment the journalist was killed, the network says forensic audio experts have identified that the shots came from about 200 meters away — the alleged distance between Abu Akleh and IDF forces at the time of her shooting.

Second, it cites Chris Cobb-Smith, a security consultant and British army veteran the network identified as a firearms expert. Cobb-Smith looked at photos of bullet markings left on a tree just where Abu Akleh was hit, and said that they were indicative of controlled, targeted shots rather than stray bullets.

“The number of strike marks on the tree where Shireen was standing proves this wasn’t a random shot, she was targeted,” he said, while noting that evidence of Palestinian fire during the exchanges showed “random sprays.”

A mural of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is on display, in Gaza City, Sunday, May 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

And he added that at a distance of 200 meters, there was “no chance” that random fire would leave such tightly knit marks.

“From the strike marks on the tree, it appears that the shots, one of which hit Shireen, came from down the street from the direction of the IDF troops. The relatively tight grouping of the rounds indicate[s] Shireen was intentionally targeted with aimed shots and not the victim of random or stray fire.”

The Israel Defense Forces has said it is investigating whether Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli or Palestinian fire but that it can make no determination while Palestinians refuse to hand over the bullet that killed her for forensic examination.

It has said, however, that any deadly Israeli fire would have been accidental.

An unnamed senior Israeli security official told the network: “In no way would the IDF ever target a civilian, especially a member of the press.”

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