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Gunfire from Israeli position 'likely responsible' for death of Al Jazeera journalist: US

State Department says ballistic experts determined bullet was badly damaged, which prevented 'clear conclusion'

Servet Günerigök   | 04.07.2022
Gunfire from Israeli position 'likely responsible' for death of Al Jazeera journalist: US

WASHINGTON

The US said on Monday there was no "definitive conclusion" on the origin of the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but concluded that the gunfire from the Israeli position was "likely responsible" for her death. 

"After an extremely detailed forensic analysis, independent, third-party examiners, as part of a process overseen by the US Security Coordinator (USSC), could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Price said ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which they said prevented a "clear conclusion."

He also said the USSC had full access to both Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian Authority investigations over the last several weeks in addition to the forensic and ballistic analysis.

"By summarizing both investigations, the USSC concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.

"The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances during an IDF-led military operation against factions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad on May 11, 2022, in Jenin, which followed a series of terrorist attacks in Israel," Price added.

The IDF, for its part, said the ballistic examination was conducted in a forensic laboratory in Israel and Israeli experts examined the bullet while the USSC representatives were present throughout the entire process.

"The physical condition of the bullet and the quality of the characteristics on it do not enable a ballistic examination to conclusively determine whether or not the bullet was fired from the weapon which was examined," the IDF said in a release.

On Saturday, the Palestinian Authority said it had handed the bullet that killed Abu Akleh to US officials to conduct a forensic examination.

On May 11, Abu Akleh, 51, was covering an Israeli military raid near the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank when she was shot dead.

While Palestinian officials and her employer Al Jazeera accused Israel of killing the reporter, Tel Aviv denied any responsibility.

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