Bennett says PA blocks search for truth in journalist's death

Prime minister says he expects the Palestinian Authority to refrain from disrupting or contaminating probe after Abbas refuses to share forensic evidence; police braces for thousands in Abu Akleh's funeral procession on Friday

Einav Halabi, Haim Goditch, Itamar Eichner|
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority was preventing an inquiry into the death of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin on Wednesday.
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  • Abu Akleh died from a gunshot wound to the head while covering the incursion of IDF troops into the Jenin Refugee camp and the exchanges of fire with Palestinian gunmen there.
    3 View gallery
    Mahmoud Abbas, Naftali Bennett
    Mahmoud Abbas, Naftali Bennett
    Mahmoud Abbas, Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: AFP, EPA)
    The PA blamed Israel for the killing while Israel said she could have died from the indiscriminate shooting of the Palestinians and offered to conduct a joint investigation into the tragic incident.
    On Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the PA will conduct its own investigation and refused Israel's suggestion.
    "The PA is preventing any possibility to jointly investigate the death and refuses even to grant access to the critical forensic evidence needed in order to arrive at the truth," Bennett said.
    "I repeat my expectation for transparency of the findings and complete cooperation," the prime minister said. "I expect that PA not to take any steps that may contaminate or disrupt the investigation in a manner that will prevent the truth from coming out," he said.
    Israel requested to be allowed to examine the bullet that killed the journalist in order to determine whether it was shot from an IDF weapon or from a gun used by the militants in the camp.
    In a memorial service for Abu Akleh, which was held in Ramallha earlier, Abbas called Abu Akleh a martyr of Jerusalem.
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     טקס האשכבה לשירין אבו עאקלה
     טקס האשכבה לשירין אבו עאקלה
    Service held in Ramallah for slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on Thursday
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "This crime cannot pass without consequence," Abbas said. "We refuse and will refuse in future to cooperate with any Israeli investigation because Israel is the criminal here. We will take the matter to the International Criminal Court in the Hague," he said.
    Bennett said Israel will continue to operate against Palestinian terror.
    "We are in the midst of a terror wave, which has thus far claimed the lives of 19 Israelis," he said.
    "The terrorists set out to kill civilian Israelis and we must end the wave, Security forces are working around the clock to do so," he said.
    Abu Akleh will be buried in a Christian cemetery in Jerusalem on Friday and thousands are expected to join the procession.
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    שירין אבו עאקלה אל ג'זירה
    שירין אבו עאקלה אל ג'זירה
    Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed in Jenin on Wednesday
    Jerusalem police intends to close off roads to allow the mourners safe passage. The police said it will protect funeral goers but will act decisively against any rioters attempting to use the procession to disrupt order.
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