Palestinian investigation into Al-Jazeera journalist Sherine Abu Oqla was shot dead It concluded that she was deliberately killed by Israeli forces while trying to escape, the Palestinian Authority announced.
The conclusion echoed the findings of a preliminary investigation announced about two weeks ago and widely expected. Israel He dismissed the findings, calling them a “blatant lie” by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Abu Okla Veteran Palestinian-American reporter for ArabiaHe was shot in the head on May 11, during an Israeli military raid on the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank.
Witnesses and Palestinian officials said she was hit by Israeli fire. Israel said it was shot during a battle between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen, adding that ballistic analysis of the bullet – which is being held by the Palestinian Authority – and the soldiers’ guns could determine who fired the fatal shot.
In announcing the results of his investigation at a press conference in Ramallah, the Palestinian Public Prosecutor, Akram Al-Khatib, announced that he had decided that there were no armed men in the vicinity of Abu Okla.
He said that “the only shooting was by the occupation forces with the aim of killing.”
Abu Okla was among a group of journalists wearing helmets and protective vests with “press” written on them. Al-Khatib said the army saw the journalists and knew they were journalists.
He accused Israel of shooting Abu Oqla “directly and deliberately” while she was trying to escape. He also reiterated the Palestinian position that the bullet should not be handed over to the Israelis to study, adding that it was decided not to display the images even to “deprive the [Israel] A new lie.
Al-Khatib said his investigation was based on interviews with witnesses, an inspection of the scene, and a forensic medical report.
In a speech later on Thursday, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, the IDF’s chief of general staff, said it was impossible to know who fired the shot and again called on the Palestinians to cooperate to “get to the bottom” of what happened.
“But there is one thing that can be determined for sure,” he said. No soldier intentionally shot a journalist. We’ve made it happen. We checked. This is the conclusion. There is no one else.”
Israel denies targeting journalists and offers two possible scenarios, saying that Abu Okla was either hit by Palestinian militants who recklessly fired at an Israeli army convoy or was hit by Israeli fire targeting an activist nearby. The Army has identified the rifle that may have been used in this scenario, but said it needs the bullet test to make any final decision.
The Associated Press Reconstruction of Events provided support for witnesses who said she was shot by Israeli forces, even though she was wearing a helmet and jacket that she clearly identified as from the media. But the reconstruction said it was impossible to reach a conclusive conclusion without further forensic analysis.
Palestinian witnesses said there were no armed men and there were no clashes anywhere near Abu Okla. The only known fighters in the area were on the other side of the convoy, about 300 meters from its position.
They had no direct line of sight, unlike the convoy itself, which was about 200 meters away on a long straight road.
Israel has publicly called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority, including the participation of the United States, and has asked the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullet for testing. But the US State Department said Wednesday that it had not received any formal request for assistance from either side, two weeks after Abu Okla’s death.
The Palestinian Authority has refused to cooperate with Israel, saying that Israel cannot be trusted to investigate its behavior. Rights groups say Israel has a poor record of investigating when security forces shoot Palestinians, and cases often remain for months or years before being quietly closed.
Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian official, said Thursday’s report would be shared with the US administration. Copies will also be delivered to and to the Abu Okla family Al JazeeraHe said.
The Palestinians say they will share the findings with international parties, including the International Criminal Court, which opened an investigation into possible Israeli war crimes last year. Israel rejected this investigation, describing it as biased towards it and not cooperating with it.
The extreme mistrust means that the Israeli and Palestinian investigations into Abu Okla’s death are unfolding separately, and neither is likely to accept any conclusions the other makes.
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