US government finds no evidence who fired bullet that killed Shireen Abu Akleh

July 5, 2022 by Gil Tanenbaum - TPS
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The United States government issued a ruling on the bullet that was said to have been the one that killed A.P. reporter Shireen Abu Akleh during a clash between the IDF and the terrorist group Islamic Jihad on May 11, 2022, in Jenin.

Shireen Abu Akleh Photo: Twitter

This determination is based on the assumption that the bullet provided to American authorities by the Palestinian Authority (PA) actually did come from her body.

The US State Department released a statement saying that after an “extremely detailed forensic analysis, independent, third-party examiners, as part of a process overseen by the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.”

USSC added that ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.

However, the report goes on to state, “the USSC concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.” This determination was made after reviewing both IDF and PA investigations to which it was granted full access over the last several weeks.

The USSC further stated that there is no reason to “believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances.” It added that these circumstances – open fighting with gunfire between the two sides – followed a series of terrorist attacks in Israel.

The USSC determination comes almost 2 months after the incident occurred. This is in stark contrast to how within 2 weeks of the incident CNN issued a report claiming that its investigation “proved” that Israeli forces knowingly fired on a civilian journalist. The network made this determination, however, based on the testimonies of people from Jenin, taking them at their word when they described where the different armed forces were located in juxtaposition to Abu Kaleh when she was shot.

And regardless of who fired the fatal bullet, every journalist knows that he is putting his life in jeopardy when covering a battle. No one denied that Abu Kaleh stood out in the open in the middle of an open firefight.

Unfortunately, these facts and the American determination on the matter have not stopped Israel’s detractors in the world from continuing to accuse it of murder. Hussein A. Sheikh, a senior PLO and PA official, spoke to TPS about the ruling made by USSC in the Abu Akala case, insisting that the investigation into the matter has not ended.

”The occupation government (Israel) is responsible for the murder of Sheerin Abu Akala,” he said. “We will complete our proceedings before the international courts and will not allow the concealment of the truth or be shy about blaming Israel… ”

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz responded to the news pledging that Israel’s defence establishment is committed to uncovering the truth behind the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.

“In this specific case, despite the forensic investigation, it was not possible to reach a definitive conclusion,” he said. “Unfortunately, it is not possible to determine the source of the shooting – and as such, the investigation will continue.”

Benny Gantz added that it is important to emphasize that during this operational event, like in many others, “hundreds of bullets were fired at IDF troops, which responded with firepower of their own, only in the direction of the sources of the shooting.”

But Gantz put the blame for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh squarely on the shoulders of the terrorists, regardless of who fired the bullet itself, because they created the situation in the first place by using residential areas as bases of operation.

“The first to bear responsibility in such events,” he declared, “are the terrorists who operate from within population centres.”

He also defended the right and the obligation of the IDF to continue to operate in these situations saying, “Our troops and their commanders have the duty to defend the citizens of the State of Israel, and they have my full support to operate accordingly.”

Gantz reiterated the fact that Israel’s security forces take all possible measures to prevent harm to innocent civilians while enabling freedom of the press.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid  stated: “The IDF will continue fighting terror whenever and wherever necessary. The IDF investigation was unable to determine who is responsible for the tragic death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but it was able to determine conclusively that there was no intention to harm her. Israel expresses sorrow over her death.

Tragically, hundreds of journalists have been killed in recent years in combat zones around the world. The State of Israel recognizes the importance of freedom of the press and safeguarding journalists as they carry out their duties.

As Prime Minister of Israel, I give full and unequivocal backing to the IDF soldiers who risk their lives to defend the citizens of Israel from terrorism and who work around the clock for the security of Israel.”

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