Israel concedes killing Al Jazeera journalist
The Israeli army has conceded for the first time since May that Shireen Abu Akleh, a US-Palestinian journalist, is likely to have been shot by an Israeli soldier who thought she was a militant.
“It is quite possible that Ms. Abu Akleh was accidentally hit by IDF (Israel Defense Forces) fire at suspects identified as Palestinian gunmen”, said the final investigation report from the army on Monday.
”Our conclusion is that it is impossible to establish unequivocally which gunfire killed her. but there is a higher chance that she was shot by a stray bullet from an IDF soldier who did not identify her as a journalist”, a senior Israeli military official said.
The official told reporters that the soldiers were under heavy fire and wanted to hit Abu Akleh because they had confused her with a Palestinian fighter. When they shot at her, they didn’t know she was a reporter, it was a mistake, they thought they were shooting at terrorists,” the official said. ”
“He’s sorry about it and I’m sorry about it as well,” said the soldier official who killed Abu Akleh.
“He didn’t do it willingly, that’s perfectly clear,” he added.
A United Nations investigation found in June that there was “no evidence of activity by armed Palestinians nearby” when Abu Akleh was shot dead.
Abu Akleh was wearing a bulletproof vest marked “Press” and a helmet when she was shot in the head during the Israel Army operation on 11 May.
The Abu Akleh family reported on Monday that Israel had “refused to take responsibility for the journalist’s murder”, in a press release issued in the wake of the Israeli army’s report.