JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said Monday there was a “strong possibility” that a soldier killed a well-known Al Jazeera journalist in May, as it announced the results of its investigation into the killing. But he said the shooting was accidental and no one would be punished.
Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in May while covering Israeli military raids in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians blamed Israel for the killing. Israel initially said she may have been killed by militant gunfire, but later said a soldier may have hit her by mistake during an exchange of fire.
Abu Akleh, an American-Palestinian journalist, had covered the West Bank for the satellite channel for two decades and was well known in the Arab world.
In a briefing to reporters, a senior military official said the army could not conclusively determine where the fire was coming from, saying there may be Palestinian gunmen in the same area as the soldier Israeli. But he added that the soldier had shot the journalist “with a very high probability” and that he had done so by mistake. The official did not explain why testimonies and videos showed limited militant activity in the area, as well as no gunfire in the vicinity up to the roadblock that hit Abu Akleh and injured another journalist.
“He misidentified her,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with military briefing guidelines. “His real-time reports…absolutely point to misidentification.”
The results of the investigation, announced nearly four months after the murder, largely match those of several independent investigations completed much earlier.
Abu Akleh’s family criticized the investigation, saying the army “tried to obscure the truth and avoid responsibility” for the killing.
“Our family is not surprised by this outcome as it is obvious to anyone that Israeli war criminals cannot investigate their own crimes. However, we remain deeply hurt, frustrated and disappointed,” they said in a statement. communicated. The family also reiterated their call for an independent US investigation and an investigation by the International Criminal Court.