The IDF categorically rejected a report published by CNN spreading claims that a reporter’s shooting was intentional.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
The claim that Israeli troops intentionally shot Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin “is devoid of any basis,” the IDF stated, responding to a report published by CNN making such claims.
Abu Akleh was killed during an encounter between IDF forces and terrorists in Jenin on May 11, and the IDF has launched an investigation into the incident.
CNN published a report on Tuesday supposedly offering “new evidence” that proves that the Israeli troops were “shooting directly at the journalists,” and that Akleh was shot dead “in a targeted attack” by the Israeli forces.
In response, the IDF stated that since the incident, it has been investigating the circumstances of Abu Akleh’s death “in-depth and thoroughly.” The interim investigation shows that it is not possible to determine the source of the shooting that killed the reporter.
In any case, the claim that the shooting was intentional “is devoid of any basis,” the IDF underscored.
The IDF noted the “widespread and uncontrollable gunfire” its forces encountered while conducting a counterterrorism operation in Jenin, together with sniper fire and the throwing of explosives by the terrorists that hit military vehicles and near the troops. Abu Akleh, who was in the area of the fighting, was hit by the crossfire.
“Receiving the bullet for a professional ballistic examination may determine between the options [of who fired the lethal bullet]. At the moment, the Palestinians have not responded to our request to conduct a joint investigation or to pass on to us the findings of their investigation, including the bullet,” the IDF said.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi expressed Israel’s commitment to “continue action to investigate the incident, using all the tools at our disposal and with a commitment to transparency and revealing the truth.”
“We express our grief over Shireen’s death, see great importance in the freedom of the press and work to preserve it,” the military added.
‘Full of Inaccuracies and Question Marks’
The preliminary investigation shows that Abu Akleh could have been killed by the terrorists’ sporadic and massive gunfire, or that during the fighting, one of the Israeli troops fired several bullets through a slit in the jeep he was in and while using a telescopic sight at a terrorist who was firing at the vehicle he was in.
There is a possibility that Abu Akleh, who was standing next to the armed terrorist and behind him, was hit by the soldier’s shots at the terrorist. The distance from the vehicles to the reporter was about 200 meters.
Israel offered the Palestinian Authority to be present and participate in pathological and ballistic examination processes, but was turned down.
The autopsy suggested by Israel could determine the caliber of the bullet from which Abu Akleh was killed. The terrorists usually Kalashnikov rifles with a larger 7.62-mm caliber, as opposed to the 5.56 mm caliber rounds shot by the IDF’s M-16 rifles.
An Israeli source said in response to the CNN investigation that he “strongly condemns the claim that the IDF shot the journalist on purpose. The investigation is full of inaccuracies and question marks regarding the reliability of some of the evidence presented in it. It is not possible to reach a firm conclusion before completing a thorough investigation.”
A government official said that Israel has called for a joint pathological investigation, “but the Palestinians are refusing, perhaps in order to hide the truth.”