Israel will share findings on death of Al Jazeera reporter with other countries

May 11, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel will communicate its findings on the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh “in a clear and transparent manner to our American friends, as well as to the Palestinian Authority” and other countries, Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced.

IDF CoS Aviv Kochavi. (Shalev Shalom/TPS)

Abu Akleh was killed during an encounter between IDF forces and terrorists in the Jenin Refugee Camp on Wednesday morning, and the IDF has launched an investigation into the incident.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi appointed a dedicated team led by Brigadier General Menny Liberty, commander of the Commando Battalion, to investigate the incident.

Kochavi said that “IDF units are working day after day with determination, thwarting terrorism and preventing terrorist attacks. The activity takes place wherever it is required, especially in the Jenin area, where there is a high concentration of terrorists. During the night activity, as in many other incidents, the Palestinians fired extensively at our forces, wild and indiscriminate firing in every direction. Unlike the Palestinians, IDF soldiers carry out professional and selective firing.”

Gantz addressed the incident in his remarks at the Knesset, during which he expressed his sorrow over Abu Akleh’s death.

“The State of Israel values the protection of human life above all, as well as freedom of press. IDF troops would never intentionally harm members of the press, and any attempt to imply otherwise is baseless,” he declared.

Preliminary findings from the investigation conducted by the IDF indicate that no Israeli gunfire was directed at the journalist, “however the investigation is ongoing,” said Gantz.

A clip filmed by the Palestinians in Jenin shows a terrorist rapidly firing toward Israeli troops, and then others boasting “we hit a soldier; he’s lying on the ground.” However, no IDF soldier was injured in the operation, which increases the possibility that terrorists were the ones who shot Abu Akleh.

“We have seen footage of indiscriminate shooting by Palestinian terrorists, which is likely to have hit the journalist,” Gantz said.

“We will communicate our findings in a clear and transparent manner to our American friends, as well as to the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

Israel has offered the Palestinian Authority to conduct a joint investigation and to share our findings, and Gantz “sent a clear message to [PA Chairman] Mahmoud Abbas today, that our responsibility as leaders is to maintain security, to conduct ourselves in a way that will prevent further violence and bloodshed and to uncover the truth.” The AP rejected the offer.

“We have also communicated with additional countries and officials, including Qatar, where Al Jazeera headquarters are based. We expressed that the findings at this time indicate that there is a reasonable chance that the journalist was shot by Palestinian armed terrorists. This being said, we will conduct an in-depth and comprehensive investigation and deliver our findings to them,” he underscored.

“We are currently in the midst of an ongoing investigation of the incident – it is important that we uncover the truth about how it unfolded,” he said.

“Finally, we must not forget that we are facing a murderous terror wave that has claimed 19 innocent lives in recent weeks. We will continue to take all the necessary measures to fight terrorism and to maintain the security of the citizens of Israel. This is our top mission,” he concluded.

The autopsy suggested by Israel could determine the caliber of the bullet from which Abu Akleh was killed. The terrorists usually Kalashnikov rifles with a larger 7.62-mm caliber, as opposed to the 5.56 mm caliber rounds shot by the IDF’s M-16 rifles.

A government official said that Israel has called for a joint pathological investigation, “but the Palestinians are refusing, perhaps in order to hide the truth.”

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