Israel claims no Israeli soldier 'deliberately' shot at Shireen Abu Akleh after internal investigation
Israel's military has claimed that an internal investigation has found that no Israeli soldier deliberately fired the shot that killed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh earlier this month.
The claim - which contradicts eyewitness accounts, a probe by the Palestinian Authority, and journalistic investigations - was made in a video statement posted by the Israeli military to Twitter on Friday evening.
"No IDF soldier deliberately fired at a journalist. We investigated this. That is the conclusion, and there is no other," Israeli military chief Aviv Kochavi said in the statement.
Abu Akleh was shot dead on 11 May while reporting on an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp, in the occupied West Bank.
Israel's military and leaders initially claimed that Abu Akleh, a veteran reporter for Al Jazeera, was killed by Palestinian gunmen. They soon backtracked on that claim, instead saying that they could not conclusively determine whose gunfire killed the veteran US-Palestinian journalist.
Shortly after the killing, Israel had asked for the Palestinian Authority to hand over the bullet removed from Abu Akleh's body to conduct a forensic examination.
The PA denied Israel's request for the bullet, saying it did not trust Israel would conduct a fair investigation after it had spread "false narratives" over Abu Akleh's killing.
Israel also offered that Palestinian and US officials could be present during the examination.
However, this week, State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was “not aware of any request for assistance” from either side. And when asked during a press briefing Wednesday — two weeks after Abu Akleh’s death — if the US had been asked to participate or act as an observer, he stood by his previous answer.