Shireen Abu Akleh killed while covering an IDF raid in the Jenin Refugee camp last May

IDF bolsters investigative team probing Abu Akleh killing

Military to deploy more intelligence officers and use satellite images to present what it says will show deployment of troops and locations of Palestinian militants during fatal exchange of fire; says ballistic examination still needed for definite conclusions

Yoav Zitun |
Published: 06.26.22, 10:38
The IDF tasked special units to bolster its investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin last May.
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  • Abu Akleh was killed by a shot to her head, during an IDF raid in the Jenin Refugee camp that included exchanges of fire with Palestinian militants.
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    זירת האירוע
    זירת האירוע
    Shireen Abu Akleh killed while covering an IDF raid in the Jenin Refugee camp last May
    (Photo: AFP)
    Israel has been blamed for her death by the Palestinian Authority and Foreign media outlets who carried out investigative reports. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights also claimed Israeli troops fired the fatal shots,
    The IDF denied responsibility but has said that a full forensic investigation cannot be carried out without the bullet that killed the reporter, which was being held by the PA.
    The military said it would assign teams from its Intelligence force satellite unit including officers who specialize in mapping, as well as other intelligence staff, to join the investigation already underway.
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    פרויקט אמ"ן אגף המודיעין מודיעין יחידה 9900
    פרויקט אמ"ן אגף המודיעין מודיעין יחידה 9900
    9900 intelligence unit
    (Photo: IDF Spokesperson Unit)
    Military Prosecution head Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi said that she does not intend to refer the matter to a criminal investigation, given Abu-Akleh was killed during a battle between troops and armed combatants, and not in a violent disturbance or clash between soldiers and uninvolved Palestinian civilians.
    A criminal investigation could take place only if the IDF investigation uncovers new details that raises suspicion of the troops' negligence or intentional targeting of the journalist.
    The IDF rejected allegations over the weekend blaming Israel for killing the journalist. The IDF's probe thus far found that over 1,000 bullets were fired by both sides, in the battel.
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    הקליע שהרג את שירין אבו אעקלה
    הקליע שהרג את שירין אבו אעקלה
    The bullet that killed Abu Akleh
    In a statement released on Friday, the IDF Spokesperson Unit said the Palestinian Authority still refused to hand over the bullet found in Abu Akleh's body, or to conduct a joint ballistic test to be observed by an American representative.
    "Where is the bullet? the Palestinian refusal to pass over the bullet and conduct a joint investigation is evidence of their position," the statement read.
    "Since the event, the IDF has been investigating the death of the journalist and found that there was no intentional attempt to target Abu Akleh and that there was no way to determine who fired the kill shot," the military said.
    After bolstering the investigative teams, the investigation will include high resolution satellite images obtained by the Intelligence force.
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    מחאה מחוץ לבית החולים בירושלים בו שמורה גופתה של שירין אבו עאקלה
    מחאה מחוץ לבית החולים בירושלים בו שמורה גופתה של שירין אבו עאקלה
    Shireen Abu Akleh's funeral
    (Photo: AFP)
    A day after the fatal event, the forces reenacted the incident with the purpose of creating a 3-D picture of the scene, in order to get a better understanding of the position of the soldiers and the armed Palestinians, and decipher the shooting angles.
    But without a ballistic examination, chances of reaching a definitive conclusion remains low, the military said. it published its interim findings and says it will not conclude the investigation in the near future with a final report.
    Largely due to her American citizenship, the death of Shireen Abu Akleh is expected to be a matter of discussion, during the visit of President Joe Biden in July.
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