After the similar conclusions reached by investigations conducted in recent weeks by CNN, the New York Times and the Palestinian National Authority into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has also blamed Israel for the killing of the Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist, who was shot in the head while in the field during an Israeli army raid on May 11 in Jenin, in the West Bank.
In a press briefing on Friday in Geneva, the UN agency said that the available information suggests it was Israeli forces, and not “indiscriminate firing” from Palestinian fighters, that killed Shireen Abu Akleh, stressing that “it is deeply disturbing that Israeli authorities have not conducted a criminal investigation.”
“All information we have gathered – including official information from the Israeli military and the Palestinian Attorney-General – is consistent with the finding that the shots that killed Abu Akleh and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from Israeli Security Forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians, as initially claimed by Israeli authorities,” said UNHCR spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani.
“At around 06h30 (on May 11, n. ed.), as four of the journalists turned into the street leading to the camp, wearing bulletproof helmets and flak jackets with ‘PRESS’ markings, several single, seemingly well-aimed bullets were fired towards them from the direction of the Israeli Security Forces. One single bullet injured Ali Sammoudi in the shoulder, another single bullet hit Abu Akleh in the head and killed her instantly.”
Like in other cases, the Israeli army has denied all responsibility. “Where is the bullet?” asked a spokesperson for the military, insisting that Shireen Abu Akleh “was not intentionally shot by an IDF soldier.”
“The Palestinians’ refusal to transfer the bullet and hold a joint investigation with American representation is telling of their motives,” he said.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz claimed that it was possible to “uncover the truth” only “by conducting a thorough ballistic, forensic investigation and not through unfounded investigations such as the one published by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.”
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