Israel says Al Jazeera reporter was likely killed unintentionally by its forces

No criminal probe will be launched into the incident, says military official

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters


Published: Mon 5 Sep 2022, 6:08 PM

The Israeli army said on Monday there was a “high possibility” that a soldier killed a well-known Al Jazeera journalist in May.

A senior military official said the military’s top legal officer will not be launching a criminal probe into the incident, meaning neither the soldier nor anyone in his chain of command will face punishment.

Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in May while covering Israeli military raids in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians blamed Israel for the killing. Israel initially said she may have been killed by militant fire, but later said a soldier may have hit her by mistake during an exchange of fire.

Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist, had covered the West Bank for the satellite channel for two decades and was well known across the Arab world.

In a briefing to reporters, the official said the military could not conclusively determine where the fire emanated from, saying there may have been Palestinian gunmen in the same area as the Israeli soldier. But he said the soldier killed the journalist “with very high likelihood” and did so by mistake. The official did not explain why witness accounts and videos showed limited militant activity in the area, as well as no gunfire in the vicinity until the barrage that struck Abu Akleh and wounded another reporter.

“He misidentified her. His reports in real time point to a misidentification,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under military briefing guidelines.

The results of the probe, announced nearly four months after the killing, largely align with those of several independent investigations completed much earlier.

There was no immediate reaction from Palestinian officials, Al Jazeera or her family.


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