The Washington Post newspaper on Sunday published the conclusions of its instigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, writing that the findings suggest the Al-Jazeera reporter was shot dead by Israeli troops.
The journalist was killed last month in a firefight between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants in the West Bank city of Jenin. The official postmortem report said it could not be determined who shot the reporter.
The Post said it had examined over five dozen social media posts and photos of the event, as well as conducted two physical inspections of the area and commissioned two independent acoustic analyses of the gunshots.
“We are now at the doors of the Jenin refugee camp,” The Washington Post quoted Ali al-Samoudi, an Al Jazeera news channel producer, as saying in a live stream on Facebook recorded shortly after 6am on the day of the clashes in Jenin. "Heavy clashes” could be heard, Samoudi said in the video.
The article articulates that less than 30 minutes later, the scene was quiet enough that Samoudi and three other journalists - amongst them Abu Akleh - felt safe enough to approach the Israeli military vehicles that were involved in the early morning raid.
The team of journalists were equipped with helmets and protective vests labeled "PRESS," thus they were clearly identified as non-combatant, Samoudi told the Washington Post. As they proceeded, he claims, "its was totally calm" and "there was no fire at all," when suddenly, it was renewed. Both Samoudi and Abu Akleh were hit by bullets, and Abu Akleh ultimately died of the wounds.
The Washington Post claims that the IDF has not released evidence proving armed Palestinian gunmen were in the area at the time the reporter was shot. The outlet added the video and audio evidence do not show firefight in the minutes before the journalist was killed.
This evidence, according to its analysis, dispute IDF claims, and support accounts of multiple eyewitnesses, as well as falls in line with a TikTok video showing a relatively calm street seven minutes before the shooting.
The IDF released a video on the day of the incident showing an armed Palestinian gunman shooting at the Israeli troops and exclaiming that he had struck a soldier. However, the video was later discovered to have been filmed in a different area of Jenin.
The probe of audio examinations of the gunfire finds that one person was shooting in the direction of the journalist from a distance of roughly 182 meters (597 feet) - which matches the gap between the reporter and the IDF convoy.
The IDF responded to the The Washington Post report, saying it "will continue to responsibly investigate the incident, in order to get to the truth of this tragic event. The bullet is vital to reaching a conclusion as to the source of the fire that killed Abu Akleh, and it is an important source for reaching an evidence-based conclusion. The Palestinians continue to refuse the IDF’s offer to conduct a joint forensic examination of the bullet, with American representation.”
Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, the IDF chief of the general staff, emphasized that “there is one thing that can be determined with certainty: no IDF soldier deliberately fired at a journalist. We investigated this. That is the conclusion and there is no other."