The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas and the Qatari channel Al Jazeera accuse Israel of having killed Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11 on the outskirts of the Jenin refugee camp, a stronghold of the Palestinian armed factions where the Israeli forces were carrying out that day a raid.
On Thursday evening, the chief prosecutor of the Palestinian Authority, Akram al-Khatib, unveiled the conclusions of his report at a press conference in Ramallah.
According to a statement by the prosecutor at a press conference, Shireen Abu Akleh was the target of a 5.56 mm caliber bullet fired by a “Ruger M40”, an American sniper rifle. But the official report from his office, later consulted by AFP, rather mentions a Ruger Mini-14, presented as a semi-automatic weapon.
The American-Palestinian journalist was wearing a bulletproof jacket with the word “press” written on it and a protective helmet when she was hit by a bullet just below the cut of her helmet.
Another journalist on site was shot and injured. And three more bullets hit a nearby tree, the prosecutor said, saying all five projectiles came from the same weapon.
According to an AFP journalist on site, no Palestinian fighter was near the group of reporters posted in an open area at the entrance to the camp.
– “Target of murder” –
According to the Palestinian prosecutor, an Israeli forces jeep was 200 meters from the journalists and the bullets were fired at around 170-180 meters.
“The traces on the tree are concentrated at a height of 127 to 178 cm, indicating that the shooter is aiming at the upper parts of the body with the aim of killing,” he said. Traces of three bullets are still visible in the trunk of the tree, an AFP team found this week.
“All of these facts: the type of projectile, the weapon, the distance, the fact that there were no obstructions to vision and that she was wearing a press jacket (…) is wearing us to conclude that (Shireen) Abu Akleh was the target of murder. The only source of fire was the Israeli occupation forces,” he added.
In an investigation released earlier this week, the American channel CNN also pointed towards Israeli responsibility. “The number of marks on the tree Shireen was standing on shows that it was not a random shot (automatic weapon, editor’s note) but a targeted shot,” Chris Cobb-Smith told the channel. a security consultant and ballistics expert.
Thursday evening, the new Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hussein al-Sheikh, announced that he had transmitted this Palestinian investigation report to the American authorities.
According to a preliminary Israeli investigation, it is impossible to immediately determine the origin of the shot that killed the Al Jazeera journalist.
The Jewish state has rejected calls for an international investigation, citing the “seriousness” of its internal legal proceedings, while the Palestinian Authority has refused to cooperate with the Israeli investigation.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday evening called a “brainless lie any claim that the Israeli military intentionally targeted journalists or uninvolved civilians” in violence, lambasting both the Palestinian report and the CNN survey.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense has not made public the account of its soldiers who were operating in the Jenin area at the time of the tragedy.