THE Israel Defence Forces is reportedly set to begin a new round of investigations into the death of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11, this time using satellite imagery and mapping experts.
It comes in the wake of a number of reports by international news organisations and the United Nations claiming that an IDF soldier fired the bullet that killed the journalist.
Abu Akleh was shot and killed on May 11 during clashes between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen, while she was covering an Israeli army operation in Jenin in the West Bank.
The Israeli military on Friday rejected a United Nations report claiming that its soldiers killed Abu Akleh, saying the investigation was flawed without access to crucial ballistic data.
In a statement titled “Where is the bullet?” the Israel Defence Forces again urged the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullet, as it and government ministers questioned the methodology and fairness of the probe.
“The Palestinian refusal to hand over the bullet and hold a joint investigation indicates their priorities,” the IDF said.
UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters, “The shots that killed Abu Akleh came from Israeli security forces.”
The UN rights office inspected photo, video and audio material, visited the scene, consulted experts, reviewed official communications and interviewed witnesses.
“The shots that killed Abu Akleh and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from Israeli security forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians, as initially claimed by Israeli authorities,” Shamdasani said.
She said that the information reviewed came from the Israeli military and the Palestinian attorney-general.
“We have found no information suggesting that there was activity by armed Palestinians in the immediate vicinity of the journalists,” she said.
Meanwhile, a New York Times investigation has found Abu Akleh was “most likely” killed by an Israeli soldier but there was no indication she was targeted.
A Palestinian Authority probe has said that an Israeli soldier deliberately shot Abu Akleh dead, a claim rejected by Israel as blatantly false.
An investigation carried out by the IDF concluded that it was impossible to conclusively say who shot Abu Akleh without examining the bullet that hit her, which the Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused.
Israeli officials have said that they have identified a gun that could have fired the fatal shot, but that confirmation would require ballistic analysis to match the gun to the bullet.
But PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has demanded that Israel turn over the rifle to the Palestinian Authority.
“We demand that they hand over the rifle that assassinated Shireen Abu Akleh,” Shtayyeh said at a ceremony marking 40 days since her death.
“We refused a joint investigation, because those who fabricated the history of a people, stealing land and homeland, can fabricate a narrative. We do not trust them,” Shtayyeh said.
The Jenin raid was one of a series of IDF West Bank operations in response to a wave of terror attacks against Israel that killed 19 people in the weeks before.
TIMES OF ISRAEL