Palestinian Attorney General Akram al-Khatib said, “It was clear that one of the [Israeli] occupation forces … had fired a bullet that hit journalist Shireen Abu Akleh directly in her head” while she was attempting to escape.
The experienced journalist was hit by a bullet that pierces the armor, he added, and she was wearing a helmet and a protective vest with a clear "PRESS" mark. Al Khatib reported on the findings of the Palestinian Authority's investigation into the murder of Abu Akleh, which was hit by a bullet on May 11 while reporting on the Israeli operation in Jenin, on the occupied West Bank.
Al-Khatib said the investigation was based on eyewitness interviews, inspection of the murder scene and forensic analysis. Eyewitnesses and colleagues who were on the spot claimed that Abu Akleh was killed by members of the Israeli forces.
Al-Khatib states that the investigation established that there were no Palestinian fighters near the scene of the shooting, disputing Israel's claims that the bullet may have come from the Palestinian side. He says that the army saw Abu Akleh with other journalists who all had "PRESS" labels.
In addition to Abu Akleh, another Al Jazeera journalist, Ali al-Samoudi, was hit by a bullet in the back. His condition is stable. According to Al Khatib, an autopsy and forensic investigation in Nablus showed that Abu Akleh was hit next, leading to the conclusion that she was trying to escape after Israeli forces opened fire on a group of journalists.
“Ali Samoudi was hit by a bullet in his back, and the Israeli occupation forces continued their attack on the journalists, who tried to escape and leave,” al-Khatib said.
Israel has no plans to launch an investigation
Israel has not yet commented on the new allegations.
An Israeli military prosecutor has asked the military to conduct an extensive investigation, but last week, Israeli media reported that the military has no plans to launch a criminal investigation. Al Jazeera's Niza Ibrahim said in a report from Ramallah that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was 5.56 millimeters and that it corresponded to sniper ammunition, as determined in the investigation.
Al Jazeera senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said it would be important for this investigation to continue. It is important that various international institutions and legal groups follow this investigation and that it becomes significant for Israel's allies in Washington, London and Paris, because we know what happened when a country from the Middle East killed a journalist who worked for the Washington Post, said Bishara.