Israeli military won’t probe Abu Akleh killing as ‘there is no suspicion of criminality’

Shireen Abu Akleh. Pic: Al Jazeera

The Israeli military is not planning to investigate the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

Israeli police believe an investigation that treats Israeli soldiers as suspects will lead to opposition within Israeli society, according to Ha’aretz.

The Ha’aretz report added there was “no suspicion” of a criminal act, with the soldiers questioned saying they thought they were firing at a Palestinian fighter.

Previous investigations into the killings of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers have led to controversy within Israel and many Israelis believe soldiers should not be prosecuted for such acts.

Abu Akleh, 51, was killed by an Israeli soldier last Wednesday, according to witnesses and colleagues who were present when she was shot while covering an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

Palestinian officials and witnesses, including journalists who were with her, say she was killed by army fire.

The Israeli military, after initially saying Palestinian gunmen might have been responsible, later backtracked and now says she may also have been hit by errant Israeli fire.

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Israel had called for a joint investigation with the Palestinians, saying the bullet must be analysed by ballistics experts to reach firm conclusions. But Palestinian officials refused, saying they don’t trust Israel and have invited other countries to join the investigation.

Meanwhile, Bellingcat, a consortium of researchers, published an analysis of video and audio evidence gathered on social media. The group found that while gunmen and Israeli soldiers were both in the area, the evidence supported witness accounts that Israeli fire killed Abu Akleh.

“Based on what we were able to review, the IDF (Israeli soldiers) were in the closest position and had the clearest line of sight to Abu Akleh,” said Giancarlo Fiorella, the lead researcher.

And the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem last week went to the area where Israel had said the firing had come from and took a video showing that Palestinian gunmen were 300 meters away from where Abu Akleh was shot, separated by a series of walls and alleyways.

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