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Israel probes death of Al Jazeera journalist

Preliminary investigations conducted by army indicate that no gunfire was directed at journalist, defence minister says



Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering an assignment in occupied West Bank. – AP
Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering an assignment in occupied West Bank. – AP

By AFP

Published: Wed 11 May 2022, 10:12 PM

Last updated: Thu 12 May 2022, 8:40 AM

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said it was "likely" that "armed Palestinians - who were indiscriminately firing at the time - were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist".

He said Abbas was making unfounded allegations, before Israel conducted a "thorough investigation" of the events.

"It appears likely that armed Palestinians - who were firing indiscriminately at the time - were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist," Bennett said in a statement.

Meanwhile, calls mounted Wednesday for an independent investigation into the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead as she covered an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank.

Another Al Jazeera journalist, producer Ali Al-Samudi, was wounded in the incident in which both wore helmets and vests marked "Press". He later said no Palestinian fighters were nearby, stressing that otherwise "we would not have gone into the area".

Defence Minister Benny Gantz later said that "the preliminary investigation conducted by the (army) in the last several hours indicate that no gunfire was directed at the journalist - however the investigation is ongoing."

Army chief Aviv Kohavi said, that "at this stage, it is not possible to determine the source of the gunfire which hit her".

The European Union urged an "independent" investigation into her death, while the United States' envoy to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called for the killing to be "transparently investigated."

The office of the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said it was "appalled", and also called for "an independent, transparent investigation."

Asked about Israel's openness to an international investigation, army spokesman Amnon Shefler said the military's internal investigative systems were "robust" and that it would conduct its own probe.

Shefler told reporters that Israel "would never deliberately target non-combatants," calling Abu Akleh's death "a tragedy that should not have occurred."

Israel has publicly offered to participate in a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority. (with inputs from agencies)


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