Palestinian Authority Rejects Israeli Appeal for Joint Probe Into Journalist's Death

Israel requested the bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh for forensic testing, and to conduct a joint investigation into her death – both of which were rejected Palestinian Minister Hussein al-Shiekh says

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem, last year.
Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem, last year.Credit: HANDOUT / AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said Thursday that the Palestinian Authority had refused Israel's request for a joint investigation into the death of Palestinian journalist Sheerin Abu Akleh in Jenin.

"Israel has requested a joint investigation, we refused that," al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter, adding that the Palestinian Authority "affirmed that our investigation would be completed independently." Al-Sheikh also said the authority refused to hand over the bullet that killed the Al Jazeera journalist.

Shireen Abu Akleh, a dual U.S.-Palestinian citizen, was killed in an exchange of fire between Israel Defense Forces and armed Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday. Her death sparked condemnation from the U.S., the European Union, the UN, Turkey, and Qatar. 

Al-Sheikh added on Twitter that, "All of the indicators, the evidence and the witnesses confirm her assassination by #Israeli special units." 

IDF sources, on the other hand, say that in the course of the military raid, Abu Akleh was killed in an exchange of gunfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen – though that it remains unclear whose gunfire is responsible for her death. 

The commander of the IDF Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, said “There was a large number of exchanges of fire. We encountered wild unorganized firing from all directions,” Fuchs said. He claimed that in "99 percent of cases," the IDF manages to avoid harming innocent bystanders, but “we are not always successful, particularly in places like this, which are areas of urban combat.”

Israel approached the Palestinian Authority requesting to obtain the bullet removed from Abu Akleh's body in order to conduct forensic tests and determine the source of fire that killed her, and had offered to conduct a joint investigation into her death with the Palestinians. The office of Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Israels official governing body in the West Bank, offered to have representatives of the Palestinian Authority and the United States present in the course of the examination. 

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