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Israel acknowledged that there was a ‘high possibility’ that a soldier killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

The Israeli army recognized for the first time this Monday a “high possibility” that one of his soldiers killed in May to the journalist of the Al Jazeera channel, Shireen Abu Akleh.

Shireen Abu Akleh, of Palestinian and American nationality, shot to death on May 11 while covering an Israeli military operation in the Palestinian countryside of Jenin, a stronghold of Palestinian armed factions in the northern occupied West Bank.

Akleh’s death occurred after an intervention by a special unit of the Israeli army in the area, which degenerated into armed clashes.

Journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh (Akleh) had been covering the news in Israel for 20 years. Photo: AFP

Crossed accusations after the death of Shireen Abu Akleh

Following the death of the journalist, who was wearing a bulletproof vest marked “press” and a helmet, the Palestinian Authority and Al Jazeera immediately accused the Israeli forces having killed her.

Israel rejected this accusation on numerous occasions, despite the fact that journalistic investigations and a UN report concluded that the shot that hit the reporter was the work of the Israelis, although they ruled out that the shot had been intentional.

On Monday, the Israeli army published the “final conclusions” of its investigation and acknowledged that one of its soldiers fired in the direction of the journalist, mistaking her identity.

“There is a high possibility that Mrs. Abu Akleh was accidentally shot by the Israeli armytargeting suspects identified as Palestinian gunmen,” the report said.

There were clashes between demonstrators and the Israeli Army during the burial of the journalist.  Photo: AFP

There were clashes between demonstrators and the Israeli Army during the burial of the journalist. Photo: AFP

The armed forces indicated that they studied the sequence of events “chronologically”, analyzed the places, the videos and the sounds recorded there and that they carried out a “simulation of the scene”.

According to the army, “Israeli experts” conducted a ballistic analysis on July 2, in the presence of representatives of the US Security Coordination Committee for Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Due to the “worst condition of the bullet”, identifying its origin was “difficult”, the army stressed in its report, stating that it was not “unequivocally” certain of the origin of the shot that ended the journalist’s life.

The United States had also concluded that a shot fired from a Israeli position had “probably” killed Shireen Abu Aklehbut found no reason to believe this was intentional.

Shireen Abu Akleh's burial was a multiduna event.  Photo: AFP

Shireen Abu Akleh’s burial was a multiduna event. Photo: AFP

“The soldier was not looking to target an Al Jazeera journalist or a journalist in general… The soldier misidentified his target and he regrets it,” a senior Israeli military official told a news conference on Monday. “This shouldn’t have happened, he didn’t do it on purpose,” he added.

According to this official, the soldier, located about 200 meters behind the journalist, did not see the inscription “press” on the front of her bulletproof vest. He also indicated that the reporter was hit by a bullet behind her head.

The Israeli military prosecutor’s office announced on Monday that “there was no suspicion of a criminal act warranting a criminal investigation by the military police”, even though there is a “high probability” that Israeli soldiers killed Shireen Abu Akleh.

For its part, the journalist’s family accused the Israeli authorities on Monday of “avoiding taking responsibility” for her death.

“We remain deeply hurt, frustrated and disappointed,” the family reiterated in a statement. calling for a US investigation “credible”.

Source: AFP

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