UN concludes Al Jazeera journalist Abu Akleh was shot dead by Israeli forces | International
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The Palestinian journalist from Al Jazeera Shireen Abu Akleh, who died on May 11 at the age of 49 in the city of Jenin (West Bank), was hit by gunfire from Israeli security forces, the UN Office for Human Rights concluded on Friday. Human Rights, based in Geneva. “All the information we have collected is consistent with the fact that the shots came from Israeli troops, and not from indiscriminate fire from armed Palestinians,” said the spokeswoman for the UN Office, Ravina Shamdasani, who considered “deeply alarming” that Israel has not yet launched a criminal investigation into the events.
The experts from the United Nations organization visited the area where the journalist’s death occurred in a refugee camp in Jenin during an intervention by Israeli soldiers to arrest Palestinian militants. They also examined photographic and video material and interviewed witnesses to the events. They have also had access to information provided by the Israeli Armed Forces and the Palestinian Authority Attorney General’s Office.
The conclusions of the investigations by the Office for Human Rights coincide with those of the investigations carried out by the Al Jazeera chain itself and by media such as Washington Post Y New York Times with the same forensic reconstruction techniques of the events: analysis of images and video and audio recordings, and witness statements. All of them confirm that in the vicinity of the place where the journalist was, there was no presence of members of the Palestinian armed groups that were confronting the Israeli forces.
Following the release of the UN report, the Israeli Armed Forces press department reiterated in a statement the request that the Palestinian Authority hand over the bullet that caused the death of Abu Akleh to carry out a joint investigation with Israeli and American experts. Military spokesmen insisted that the shot occurred during “an operational action in which an exchange of fire was recorded between Palestinian soldiers and armed men.”
The same source assured that Israel has investigated and reviewed the circumstances of the death and has reached the following conclusions: “Abu Akleh was not intentionally shot by a soldier, and it is also not possible to determine if she was killed by a Palestinian gunman, who fired indiscriminately in the area, or inadvertently by an Israeli military.” Israel, which claims to have identified a soldier’s weapon that she may have fired at the reporter, insists on matching it to the bullet in the hands of Palestinian authorities. However, the Israeli justice system has not initiated a criminal investigation into the events, considering that they occurred during a military operation against enemy forces.
The Palestinian Authority Attorney General’s investigation concluded on May 26 that Israeli troops deliberately killed the Al Jazeera journalist. The forensic and ballistic reports “prove that there were no Palestinian armed groups in the place,” stressed the attorney general, Akram al Khatib. A 5.56-millimeter-caliber bullet was found in Abu Akleh’s body, reinforced with a special type of steel to pierce armor, which is only used by Israeli Army snipers in the region. The image of the bullet has been shown by Al Jazeera. The Palestinian Authority announced that it would not hand over the projectile for examination by the Israeli Armed Forces, and that it would refer the evidence to the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, which last year opened a war crimes investigation. committed in Palestine.
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Shots from the military position towards the reporters
According to the UN Human Rights Office report, Abu Akleh arrived shortly after dawn with six other journalists at the western entrance of the Jenin refugee camp to cover a raid by Israeli forces in which clashes were taking place. The reporters, who were identified with 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 the place where the troops were,” stress the UN experts, who call to complete after their “monitoring” an “immediate, exhaustive investigation, transparent, independent and impartial”.
Abu Akleh had become, after 25 years appearing on the televisions of millions of people to report on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a journalistic reference in the Arab world. In a letter addressed on Thursday to the President of the United States, Joe Biden, 22 Democratic senators have requested that the Washington government be involved in the investigation into the causes of the death of the journalist, who also had American nationality, as well as residence in East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967. Biden plans to visit Israel and Palestine in three weeks as part of a tour of the Middle East.
Since the beginning of the year, the UN Human Rights Office has recorded the deaths of 58 Palestinians, including 13 minors, by Israeli security forces in the West Bank.
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