Palestinians fear cover-up as Israel asks for bullet that killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
Abu Akleh, a US-Palestinian journalist who had worked for Qatari television network Al Jazeera since 1997, was shot in the head on Wednesday while reporting on an Israeli army raid in Jenin.
Al Jazeera and multiple eyewitnesses said Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli sniper fire.
Israel has asked for the bullet removed from Abu Akleh’s body so that it can "conduct forensic testing", Haaretz said.
Palestinians have been highly critical of the Israeli request due to the "fake" narratives pushed out by the government following outrage over the journalist's killing.
Israel initially claimed Palestinian gunmen could be responsible for her death, despite a mountain of evidence suggesting Israeli gunfire targeted the reporter and journalists who tried to rescue her. A bullet hit Abu Akleh - who was clearly wearing a 'Press' vest - in the only part of her head not covered by a safety helmet.
Israel has offered to have US and Palestinian representatives present during the examination, according to the Israeli daily, but Ramallah has been highly suspicious about the request due to Israeli efforts to deflect blame from its military.
The Palestinian Authority said on Thursday that it had rejected Israeli requests for the bullet and a joint investigation into the killing, saying it would conduct its own probe.
"Israel has requested a joint investigation and the handing over the bullet that killed journalist Shireen, and we refused that," said Hussein Al-Sheikh, a member of Fatah's central committee.
Al-Sheikh said the Palestinians had completed their own investigation, which confirmed that Abu Akleh had been killed by Israeli fire.
Abu Akleh had been killed using a bullet from an M16 rifle, which is used by both the Israeli army and Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli outlet said.
Israeli officials had initially said that it was "likely" Abu Akleh had been killed by Palestinian fire, but began backtracking on that position on Wednesday afternoon.
A state funeral service for Abu Akleh will take place in Ramallah on Thursday. Her body will then be taken to Jerusalem for burial.