Shireen Abu Akleh: The US investigation into the death of the Palestinian journalist is falsely closed due to the poor condition of the bullet | International

Candles next to a photo of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, on May 16 during a vigil in her memory in Bethlehem (West Bank).
Candles next to a photo of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, on May 16 during a vigil in her memory in Bethlehem (West Bank).MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA (REUTERS)

The deteriorating condition of the bullet that pierced the head and helmet of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11 has made it impossible to establish from which weapon she was fired. The result of the ballistic examination carried out by United States experts in Jerusalem, in which the marks of the projectile were compared with those of the M4 carbines of the Israeli troops that intervened in Jenin (West Bank) when the reporter lost her life while covering the information about a military operation falsely closes the investigation. It has not been possible to draw conclusions about the authorship of the shot, as reported on Monday by the Department of State.

The investigation by the security coordinator of the US Embassy in Israel, General Mike Fenzel, points to the positions of the Israeli elite forces operating a few dozen meters from Abu Akleh, 51, as the most likely source of the bullet. , and who also had American nationality. He also maintains that the experts who have intervened “have found no evidence to believe that it was fired intentionally, but rather that the shooting was due to tragic circumstances in the course of an Army operation.”

The bullet, coated with a special metal reinforcement to penetrate armor and used only in the Middle East by Israeli Army snipers, was “too damaged” to be able to establish a link with a specific weapon, according to US diplomatic officials. Last weekend the weapons experts sent by Washington received the projectile from the hands of the Palestinian Authority, which was guarding it as evidence extracted from the journalist’s body. The Embassy returned it to the Palestinian Ministry of Justice on Monday, a few hours before the announcement of the ballistics report.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that “the investigation [sobre las causas de la muerte de la periodista] it should continue after the ballistics examination has been closed with no conclusions.” Gantz blamed what happened on “terrorists (Palestinian armed groups) for operating inside populated areas.” “Hundreds of bullets were fired in the confrontation with the troops,” ex-General Gantz alleged.

For the Palestinian leader Wasel Abu Yusef, a prominent member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the US has offered legal protection to Israel by “closing the path to a criminal investigation in which Israel should be considered as responsible for the crime”. The PLO has announced that it will take the case of Abu Akleh’s death to the International Criminal Court, which is examining war crimes committed in Palestine in The Hague.

The Palestinian reporter’s family said in a statement that Washington “continues to cover up the murders of Palestinians and offer impunity to Israel, even if in this case it is a US citizen.” The relatives of Abu Akleh deny that the death was the result of “tragic circumstances”, as the US report has implied, and demand that those responsible for the events, which were witnessed by numerous witnesses and who have already been examined by the United Nations, humanitarian organizations and international media.

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One week after Biden’s visit

“The evidence that has been compiled so far indicates that a US citizen has been extrajudicially executed by foreign troops who receive multimillion-dollar funding from the US,” the relatives maintain, while demanding an independent investigation without political influence. The result of the ballistic report has been made public a week before the United States president, Joe Biden, travels to Israel and Palestine as part of a tour of the Middle East. The Hebrew press has revealed that the State Department has exerted diplomatic pressure on both parties in recent days so that the disputes over the death of the journalist Abu Akleh – a deliberate shot or a stray bullet, according to the conflicting versions – do not overshadow the Biden’s first visit to the region since his arrival at the White House.

The United Nations Office for Human Rights, headquartered in Geneva, concluded last month that the Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist was shot by Israeli security forces. The conclusions of the inquiries coincide with those of the investigations carried out by Al Jazeera and other media outlets, such as CNN, Washington Post either The New York Times.

According to UN report, Abu Akleh arrived shortly after dawn with six other journalists at the western entrance to the Jenin refugee camp to cover a raid by Israeli forces in which fighting was taking place. The reporters, who were wearing vests marked with the word “Press” in English, received no warning, despite the fact that their movements were visible to the Israeli troops, who were about 170 meters away. “Several shots were fired in the direction of four of the journalists apparently intentionally from where the troops were located,” the UN experts concluded.

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