JENIN, West Bank (AP) — Who Killed Shireen Abu Akleh?
Nearly two weeks after the death of Al Jazeera’s veteran Palestinian-American journalist, the Associated Press rebuilds support claims by Palestinian authorities and colleagues in Abu Aqle that the bullet that killed her came from an Israeli gun.
The definitive answer will likely prove elusive due to severe mistrust between the two sides, with both sides in sole possession of potentially conclusive evidence.
Several videos and photos taken on the morning of May 11 clearly show an Israeli convoy parked just above a narrow road in Abu Akleh. They show in real time reporters and other onlookers dodging bullets fired in the direction of the convoy.
The only confirmed presence of Palestinian militants was opposite a convoy about 300 meters (yards) away, mostly separated from Abu Acle by buildings and walls. Israel said there was at least one militant between the convoy and a journalist, but did not provide evidence or give the location of the shooter. Palestinian witnesses said there were no militants in the area and no gunfire before shelling that struck Abu Akleh and wounded another reporter.
The Witnesses say they have no doubt that it was Israeli soldiers who killed Abu Akle, now considered a martyr. Both to journalism and to the Palestinian cause. The Israeli army said she died in a complex gunfight between soldiers and militants and only a full investigation, including a forensic analysis of her bullets, could prove who fired the lethal gun.
The Palestinian has refused to hand over the bullets or cooperate with Israel in any way on the investigation, but says it will share its findings with other parties.
The death of Abu Akleh further heightened tensions in the Middle East amid a wave of violence. And it raised new concerns about the safety of journalists covering nearly 55 years of military occupation of the West Bank, which Palestinians want as a major part of their future state.
The Associated Press visited the site of the murder of Abu Akle on the edge of the Jenin refugee camp north of the West Bank and the site of a battle with Israeli forces captured nearby. Video shared by Israel.
Interviews with five Palestinian eyewitnesses support analysis According to the Netherlands-based Bellingcat research group, Israeli forces are closer to Abu Akleh and have better visibility. a group that specializes in locating events in war zones by analyzing photos and videos shared online; You correctly positioned the convoy. Just up the narrow road from where Abu Akleh was murdered.
road and transport
Reporters who were with Abu Akleh said when they arrived at the scene it was quiet and quiet, with no clashes or militants in the surrounding area. Jenin’s Al Jazeera producer Ali Samoudi said he was calling people inside the camp to find out what was going on.
Then they made their way down a long, narrow road that sloped from the open area to a group of concrete buildings, where a convoy of Israeli troops was parked about 200 meters away. Each reporter was wearing a helmet and a blue vest with “PRESS” in large print.
“We went out into the open space so they could see us,” Samoudi told the AP. “I walked slowly forward about 20 meters because I wasn’t told to leave,” he said.
Local photographer Shatha Hanaysheh said they stayed there for five to ten minutes, talking and even laughing in front of the soldiers. A video that appears to capture the first scene support her account.
Samoudi said the soldiers fired warning shots and he leaned back and fled. The second shot hit him in the back. Abu Akleh was shot in the head and appears to have died immediately, and Hanaysheh hid opposite a tree by the wall. The bark on the side facing the army appears to have been broken by gunfire or debris.
“We saw gunfire coming from the army,” Hanaysheh said. “When Ali and Shireen and I ran for cover, we ran from them.”
Local resident Sharif Azer heard gunshots on his way to work and ran for help. he can be seen elsewhere widely shared video Helped her escape over the wall where Hanaysheh was hiding.
After Abu Akleh’s death, multiple gunshots are heard as people hide on both sides of the road. As Azer moves away from the tree, gunshots sound, indicating that he is coming from an army position. He says he could see soldiers pointing their guns at them.
“They fired us more than once. “Every time someone approached, they fired a gun,” he said.
The Israeli army’s initial investigation into the shooting said there were two possibilities.
First, Palestinian militants to the south, opposite the convoy, said recklessly fired hundreds of rounds, one of which was able to strike Abu Acle about 300 meters away. A bullet fired from an M16 can travel over 1,000 meters.
However, the military did not provide any visual evidence other than footage of Palestinian militants firing at other locations with no visibility towards Abu Akleh.
The AP found no evidence to support this first scenario.
At this point, the second scenario seems more plausible.
Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Amnon Shefler said there was at least one Palestinian shooter on the road between the military and journalists “near” Abu Accle. The militants fired multiple shots at one of the military vehicles, and the soldier inside fired back with a rifle equipped with a telescope.
The Army probe hit that rifle with zero points.Shefler said she still believes a stray Palestinian bullet could kill her.
The military says it cannot give an answer without comparing a bullet to a weapon. “If there is no possibility of examining the bullet, doubts remain,” said Major General Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi, the Army’s chief prosecutor, in a speech Monday.
She said she would not make a decision on whether to initiate a criminal investigation until the primary investigation is complete, as the killings occurred in an active combat area.
Video posted on social media that day showed the sound of heavy gunfire from other areas of Jenin, including near a house surrounded by Israeli military vehicles conducting an arrest raid about 1.5 km (1 mile) from where Abu Akleh was shot. Included.
All eyewitnesses who spoke to the Associated Press claimed that there was no armed force between the reporter and the military. The area is mostly open, but the shooter can be hidden in a lush cemetery on the east side of the road or in an outdoor brick factory next to where the reporters used to be.
You can’t see the militants in any video showing the reporter’s location. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said no other Palestinians were killed or injured in Genin. The local press also has no records of other Palestinian casualties.
Walid Omari, who oversees Al Jazeera’s coverage of Palestinian territory, said he had never seen evidence of any militants between reporters and the military.
“If the Palestinian militants are there, why not shoot them? “There are snipers,” he said. “It is now clear to us that they were targeting Shireen.”
Shortly after the shooting, Israel requested a joint investigation by the Palestinian authorities managing the occupied West Bank region and asked to hand over the bullet that killed Abu Acle for ballistic analysis. Israel invited representatives of Palestine and the United States to participate in the investigation.
The PA declined, saying Israel could not trust its own investigation. Hours after the shooting, the PA and Al Jazeera accused Israel of deliberately targeting Abu Aqle, but provided no concrete evidence of the allegations that Israel vehemently denies.
A spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians were conducting a “pure and professional investigation” and would share the findings with international organizations. He declined to provide details about the probe or answer questions about attempts to match the bullet to the weapon.
“We are convinced that Israel is responsible for the murder, and we have the evidence, the evidence and the witnesses to confirm it,” Nabil Aburdene told the Associated Press. “We have no confidence in the Israeli investigation because the purpose of the Israeli investigation is to fabricate facts.”
Israeli investigations into Palestinian shootings are often delayed for months or years before being quietly put on hold.And human rights groups say soldiers hold little accountability.
Israeli authorities initially suggested that Palestinian fighters may have killed Abu Akle in the video they shared. They backtracked after her Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, circulated another video stating that it was virtually impossible to shoot her. This is because the two places are hundreds of meters apart and are separated by a building and a wall. B’Tselem is still conducting its own investigation.
Palestinian investigators hold the bullet that killed Abu Akleh found on the head of Abu Akleh. Samoudi said the bullet that hit him shattered and left fragments in his back. It is unclear whether other fragments have been recovered.
Lior Nadivi, a former crime scene investigator and gun inspector with the Israeli police, said the bullet that killed Abu Akleh could potentially carry a lot of evidence.
Deformation can indicate ricochet. The markings show the type of weapon and the microscopic signature could potentially be used to match a bullet to a specific firearm. He said there was “no way” to manipulate the bullet without leaving any obvious marks on the bullet.
But Nadivi said it’s also important to see the full picture of what happened.
“You have to locate the people who shot in the general direction of this reporter and analyze what happened to each bullet,” he said. “You need a lot of information, but now we have none.”
After all, it can be impossible to know exactly what happened. Neither side will accept the conclusion reached by the other. Israel’s closest ally, the United States, says it is “working to bridge cooperation between the parties,” but is making no progress.
Last week, 57 Democrats in Congress called for an FBI investigation. Both Israel and the PA should seek US aid, and neither appears to have done so. Israel invited the United States to play an observer role.
Theoretically, both parties could submit evidence to a third party for analysis. However, neither side has expressed interest in such an investigation, and if they are not happy with the results, the other can accuse the other of fabricating evidence.
Samoudi visited the murder site on Thursday in a wheelchair while supporters erected a makeshift memorial. She said Hanaysheh was also coming, but she was still too shocked to access the tree as she kept her distance from her tree, where she nearly died.
Still, she did not give up on her job.
Two days after Abu Akleh’s death, Israeli forces returned to Jenin to conduct another air strike. Israel said it was targeting militants after a series of attacks in recent weeks..
Hanaysheh said a lot more journalists than usual came out to cover it, and she was one of them.
“We know journalists everywhere can be killed, but if we don’t do this, nobody will die,” she said. “We know the occupation forces don’t want what’s going on here to go away,” she said.
Associated Press reporter Majdi Mohammed contributed to the report.