Israel says it is investigating whether one of its soldiers is Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh . has killed

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TEL AVIV – A day after a Palestinian-American journalist was killed in an Israeli raid on a city in the West Bank, the Israeli military said it is investigating the possibility that the fatal shot was fired by one of its soldiers, according to an Israeli officer of Defense.

The official said the military was investigating three separate shooting incidents involving its soldiers following the death of reporter, Shireen Abu Akleh, a longtime correspondent for Al Jazeera news channel, as well as the injury of its producer at the Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday.

The admission that one of Israel’s soldiers could be guilty marked a major departure from Israel’s initial explanation for the shooting – that Abu Akleh was “most likely” hit by fire from Palestinian militants.

US reporter killed by IDF, network says; Israel calls for investigation

The IDF official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share details of an ongoing investigation, said the military was looking for a gunfight between Israeli soldiers in a vehicle and one or more armed Palestinian men he said shot at. the vehicle. The official said the shooting took place on a street about 120 meters from where Abu Akleh was killed. Of the three incidents investigated, it was “more likely to be involved in Shireen’s death,” the official said.

“A soldier with a rifle and a very good aiming system shot at a terrorist with an M16, in very good condition, very clear view, which fired at our troops. What we are checking now is Shireen’s location,” he said, adding that military investigators had taken the rifles from Israeli soldiers involved in the incident to have them available for ballistic testing.

In the hours after Abu Akleh’s assassination, Al Jazeera and the Palestinian authorities said Israel was responsible. Multiple witnesses interviewed by The Washington Post said there had been no gunfights between the Israeli military and Palestinian gunmen in the area Abu Akleh reported, or at the time she was shot — contradicting Israeli claims she was in crossfire got caught.

Israel said it had requested a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority that would be overseen by US officials.

On Thursday, Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al Sheikh called the killing a “murder”. He said the Palestinian Authority has refused to cooperate with Israel in the investigation and would not hand over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh to Israeli authorities because he said he had been taken for an initial ballistics investigation at An-Najah University in nablus.

Sheikh said the Palestinian Authority will release the results of the investigation when it is complete to Abu Akleh’s family and the public, as well as to the United States, Qatari and other relevant authorities (Al-Jazeera is based in Qatar.)

Palestinian and Israeli authorities have not yet disclosed what caliber bullet was used in the shooting, a seemingly crucial piece of evidence in determining responsibility. Rayan al-Ali, the director of an-Najah’s Forensic Medicine Institute, said at a news conference on Wednesday that an initial probe showed the bullet had been fired from “more than a meter” but it was still not possible to to determine that it was fired from the rifle of an Israeli soldier.

Services for Abu Akleh on Thursday included a memorial gathering in Ramallah attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, followed by a procession of thousands of mourners who carried her body to her home in Jerusalem. Her funeral is scheduled for Friday. Abu Akleh was a Palestinian Catholic.

In Ramallah, hundreds of tearful Palestinians pressed forward to touch, or simply get close, a figure that has become a beloved presence in living rooms across the region in recent decades. One of her colleagues compared the emotional outburst to the funeral of Palestinian leader Yasar Arafat.

The Biden administration, members of Congress and UN officials, among others, have called for an investigation into her murder.

Palestinian witnesses on the ground who spoke to The Post on Wednesday said the fighting in Jenin, during an Israeli attack on the city, was far from where Abu Akleh was stationed and had ended long before she was hit.

Ali al-Samudi, the producer, who was wounded in the back, told The Washington Post that the area where the reporter waited was “dead quiet” as individual shots came their way. All reporters wore helmets and protective vests marked ‘press’.

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