Palestinian probe: Israeli forces intentionally shot journalist as she tried to flee

Shireen Abu Akleh stands next to a TV camera above the Old City of Jerusalem, in an undated photo. (Al Jazeera Media Network via AP)
Shireen Abu Akleh stands next to a TV camera above the Old City of Jerusalem, in an undated photo. (Al Jazeera Media Network via AP)

At a press conference in Ramallah, Palestinian Authority chief prosecutor Akram Khatib tells journalists that Palestinian investigators have determined that Israeli gunfire killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

Khatib adds that forensic evidence indicates that Akleh was killed as she was attempting to run away from the sudden bursts of Israeli gunfire.

“She was fleeing forward, as can be seen by the path taken by the bullet,” says Khatib, adding that she was turned away.

Abu Akleh was killed two weeks ago in Jenin in disputed circumstances while covering an Israeli raid that sparked a gunfight with Palestinian gunmen.

The Israel Defense Forces initially said that errant Palestinian gunfire may have killed Abu Akleh, but later acknowledged Israeli fire could have killed her and is conducting its own investigation into the incident.

According to Khatib, the bullet used to kill Abu Akleh was a relatively small “Roger” bullet often used by Israeli forces. He says it had been fired from 170-200 meters away by a sniper with a clear line of sight.

“The Israeli occupation forces began firing bullets at them, without any warning,” Khatib says.

He claims that the soldiers clearly saw Abu Akleh and there was nothing obstructing their view.

PA investigators believe Abu Akleh was directly shot by Israeli soldiers, rather than struck by accident while intending to shoot another target, according to Khatib.

Israel has offered the PA a joint investigation into Abu Akleh’s death. Israeli officials have said that without access to the bullet, it will be near impossible to determine whether an Israeli gun fired the shots.

The PA has rejected both Israeli, American and international help and insisted on conducting its own investigation.

“We are proud that we did not include anyone else in the investigation,” says PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah.

Abu Rudeinah further laments “American aid and global silence” on Israeli actions in the West Bank, including the alleged killing of Abu Akleh.

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