JERUSALEM: The Palestinian Authority’s attorney general said on Thursday that its investigation proves an Israeli soldier shot Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in a targeted killing in Jenin on May 11.
The bullet that killed Abu Akleh is a 5.56mm round with a steel component used by Nato forces, he said, adding that the Palestinian Authority will not hand the bullet over to Israel.
Al Jazeera TV Network will refer the killing of its journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), it said in a televised statement on Thursday.
Al Jazeera’s legal team alongside international legal experts will prepare a file on the killing of Abu Akleh to refer it to the ICC, according to Reuters.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian Attorney General Akram al-Khatib said: “It was clear that one of the [Israeli] occupation forces … had fired a bullet that hit journalist Shireen Abu Akleh directly in her head” while she was attempting to escape.
Abu Akleh, 51, was hit with an armour-piercing bullet, the attorney general said, while she was wearing a helmet and a vest that was clearly marked with the word “PRESS”.
Al-Khatib was reporting on the findings of a Palestinian Authority investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh, who was shot on May 11 while covering an Israeli army raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.
“The only source of firing was by the occupation forces with the aim to kill,” he said.
Al-Khatib said his investigation was based on interviews with witnesses, an inspection of the scene and a forensic medical report.
Witnesses and colleagues who were present at the scene had previously said Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli forces. Al Jazeera Media Network said Abu Akleh was “assassinated in cold blood”.
Al-Khatib said the investigation found there were no Palestinian fighters near the scene of the shooting, contradicting claims made by Israeli officials that she could have been killed by armed Palestinians.
He said the Israeli forces were able to see Abu Akleh and other journalists, who were all clearly marked as members of the press.
According to al-Khatib, an autopsy and forensic examination conducted in Nablus after Abu Akleh’s death showed she was shot from behind, indicating that she was attempting to flee as Israeli forces continued to fire towards the group of journalists.
There was no immediate response from Israel. Israel’s military prosecutor has called on the army to conduct an in-depth investigation, but last week, Israeli media reported that the military had no plans to launch a criminal investigation.
Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2022