Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Palestinian Authority on Saturday handed over to US forensic experts the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist of Al Jazeera Shireen Abu Akleh during an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin in May.
Akram al-Khatib, general prosecutor for the Palestinian Authority, told Al Jazeera that officials had “agreed to transfer the bullet to the Americans for examination”.
However, conflicting reports over who would conduct the tests on the bullet emerged on Sunday.
An Israeli military spokesman told Israeli occupation Army Radio: “The test will not be American. The test will be an Israeli test, with an American presence throughout.”
Israeli occupation officials said they expect the results of the ballistics test will be ready on Sunday.
Al-Khatib, meanwhile, told Voice of Palestine radio that officials had received “guarantees” from the US “that the examination will be conducted by them and that the Israeli side will not take part”.
In the last five weeks, the Biden administration has pressed the Palestinians to hand over the bullet, U.S. and Israeli officials told Axios. After refusing for weeks, the Palestinians in recent days signaled they might be willing to change course.
On Thursday, Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on the phone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and asked him again to give the bullet to the US, a State Department official said, before US President Joe Biden visits ‘Israel’ and the occupied West Bank on July 13.
51-year-old Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the head while she was covering an Israeli military raid into the Jenin refugee camp despite wearing a press vest on May 11, sparking international outrage and calls for accountability for attacks on journalists. The slain journalist covered events and Israeli aggressions in the occupied Palestinian territory for 25 years.
Multiple witnesses said that Israeli forces killed the veteran journalist. Reports by the investigative group Bellingcat, The Associated Press, CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times have also come to the same conclusion.
On June 24, the UN’s OHCHR also announced that information it had gathered showed that the bullets that killed Abu Akleh were fired by Israeli forces.
Spokesperson for the UN’s OHCHR, Ravina Shamdasani, told reporters in Geneva, “All information we have gathered is consistent with the finding that the shots that killed Abu Akleh and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from Israeli security forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians.”
The CNN investigation in May said evidence suggests that the veteran journalist was killed in a “targeted attack by Israeli forces”.
Al Jazeera Media Network also announced on May 26 that it had assigned a legal team to refer the killing to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
A probe by the Palestinian Authority found that Abu Akleh was deliberately shot by Israeli forces.
The Israel military operational investigation determined, however, that there was a possibility that Abu Akleh was shot by an Israeli soldier, but it was not possible to determine who fired the fatal shot without a ballistics test of the bullet against the guns that were used by the soldiers in the area. It claimed that if an Israeli soldier did shoot her, it was not intentional.
(Source / 03.07.2022)