Israeli gunfire “likely” killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) raid in the West Bank city of Jenin in May, U.S. officials said Monday following an extensive analysis of the bullet that struck the prominent reporter.
Because the bullet was badly damaged, the State Department’s U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC) said it “could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet.”
But officials said that other evidence strongly suggests that it was fired from an Israeli weapon.
“In addition to the forensic and ballistic analysis, the USSC was granted full access to both Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian Authority investigations over the last several weeks,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “By summarizing both investigations, the USSC concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances during an IDF-led military operation against factions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad on May 11, 2022, in Jenin, which followed a series of terrorist attacks in Israel.”
The U.S. urges “accountability” for the death of the Abu Akleh, Mr. Price said, though he did not specify exactly what that means.
Abu Akleh, an American citizen, was a well-known journalist throughout the Arab world. Israeli officials have vehemently denied targeting her, but they have conceded she may have been unintentionally struck during a firefight between IDF forces and Palestinian militants.
Palestinian eyewitnesses, however, said there were no militants in the area when she was shot.