Israel concedes soldier likely shot Al Jazeera journalist

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military admitted on Monday for the first time that one of its soldiers likely shot the Palestinian-American reporter Shireen Abu Akleh after mistaking her for a warrior.
“Most likely Ms Abu Akleh was accidentally IDF (Israeli The military’s final investigative report into the military’s May 11 death said.
The admission comes after months when the military insisted it could not determine the source of the deadly shot that killed the celebrity. Al Jazeera journalists in the occupied West Bank, said it could be militia fire.
“Our conclusion is that it is impossible to determine exactly which shot killed her, but there is a higher chance that she was hit by an IDF soldier who did not identify her as a journalist,” said one. said a senior Israeli military officer.
Abu Akleh was wearing a bulletproof vest with the sign “Press” and a helmet when she was shot in the head during an Israeli military operation.
Abu Akleh’s family said that Israel had “refused to accept responsibility for the murder” of the journalist, in a press release issued after the military report.
“We remain deeply traumatized, frustrated and disappointed,” the family said, calling for a “credible” US investigation.
The Palestinian Authority accuses Israel of intentionally killing the reporter in the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank, while Israel insists that even if a soldier fired a fatal shot, it was not intentional.
Al-Jazeera said it denounced the results of the Israeli investigation and asked an “independent international agency” to conduct an investigation.
“Al Jazeera condemns the reluctance of the Israeli occupation forces to admit their crimes and attempts to evade prosecution of the perpetrators,” it said in a statement.
On Monday, the army’s senior officer told reporters that soldiers were under heavy shelling and were aiming to hit Abu Akleh because they mistook her for a Palestinian fighter.
“When they shot at her, they didn’t know she was a journalist, it was a mistake, they thought they were shooting at terrorists who were shooting at them,” the officer said.
“He’s sorry about that and I’m sorry about that too,” the officer said of the soldier who shot at Abu Akleh.
“He didn’t do it on purpose, that’s completely clear,” he added.
But the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists criticized the military’s report.
Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said: “The admission of guilt is late and incomplete. They did not give the killer Shireen Abu Akleh’s name and have no other information. beyond his or her own testimony that the murder was a mistake”.
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, a campaigner against Israeli settlement expansion, condemned the military’s report as a “whitewash”. It says “no mistake, it’s policy”.
A United Nations investigation in June concluded there was “no evidence of nearby armed Palestinian activity” when Abu Akleh was shot.
The United States on July 4 said she may have been shot by Israeli fire but there is no evidence that her killing was intentional and the bullet was too damaged to draw a definitive conclusion. .
Following the release of the military report on Monday, Foreign Office spokesman Price Ned “We welcome Israel’s review of this tragic incident, and once again emphasize the importance of accountability in this case, such as policies and procedures to prevent similar incidents will happen in the future.”
The US statement in July outraged the family of Abu Akleh and Palestinian leaders, who accused Washington of not seeking accountability from Israel for the murder of the journalist, who was also an American citizen.
“We are continuing to call for accountability and justice for the Shireen,” Lina Abu Akleh, the journalist’s niece, said in Washington after meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
In May, the Israeli military advocate said that there had been no suspicion of criminal activity since the event took place in an active combat zone.
The military advocate said on Monday that the circumstances of the incident “do not raise suspicion that a crime was committed that would justify opening a criminal investigation”.

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