Initial IDF Probe: Inconclusive if Palestinian Journalist Was Killed by Israeli or Palestinian Fire

Shireen Abu Akleh was about 150 meters (328 feet) away from Israeli military forces when she was shot and killed, an initial IDF investigation shows

Amos Harel
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The area in Jenin where Shireen Abu Akleh was killed, on Wednesday.
The area in Jenin where Shireen Abu Akleh was killed, on Wednesday.Credit: Deiaa Haj Yahia
Amos Harel

It is still unclear whether Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire or Palestinian gunmen while she was covering a military raid in Jenin on Wednesday, according to an initial investigation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces.     

The probe shows that Abu Akleh was about 150 meters (328 feet) away from Israeli military forces when she was shot and killed.

Soldiers from the elite Duvdevan Unit fired a few dozen bullets during the raid in Jenin, the investigation shows, but whether it was Israeli or Palestinian gunfire that killed the Al Jazeera reporter is unknown. 

Wednesday evening saw feverish rounds of communication between Israel and the Palestinian Authority regarding whether the bullet removed from Abu Akleh’s body would be turned over for examination in Israel.

The bullet, which struck her in the head, is 5.56 millimeters in diameter and was shot from an M16 rifle. But since such rifles are used by both the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian cells in the West Bank, the information is insufficient to determine which side fired the bullet.

An undated photo released by Al Jazeera shows Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist for the network.Credit: /AP

IDF sources say that in the course of an arrest outside
the Jenin refugee camp, hundreds of bullets were shot at Israeli troops, who responded by firing dozens of bullets at specific targets. These include a gunman who they spotted on the roof of a house,  an armed man peering from a window and others.

Most of the Israeli fire was directed southwards, while Abu Akleh and a Reuters photographer who was wounded were positioned to the north of the Israeli forces. Nevertheless, it appears that some Israeli fire was directed northwards as well.

IDF officials believe that a ballistics examination of the Israeli troops' weapons could either confirm or refute the claim that the bullet that hit Abu Akleh was fired by an IDF soldier.

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