According to new information, the fatal shots almost four months ago at journalist Shirin Abu Akle, who is prominent in the Arab world, were "very likely" fired by the Israeli military. "There is a high probability that she was accidentally hit by military fire," a senior army official said after completing internal investigations. However, the reporter from the Arabic television channel Al-Jazeera was never identified as a journalist, he said.
Shirin Abu Akle was shot dead during an Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank. According to the Israeli military, there had previously been a fierce firefight with dozens of militant Palestinians during an Israeli raid in the city of Jenin.
No suspicion of a crime
According to Israeli information, the shots cannot be clearly assigned, even after the investigations have been completed. Criminal investigations should not be initiated - the Attorney General of the military announced that there was no suspicion of a criminal offense.
Abu Akle's family expressed dismay at the army's statement. Israel is trying to cover up the truth and refuses to take responsibility for Shirin's murder. The survivors called for a "thorough, independent and credible" investigation by the United States. The guilty must be held accountable. Israel is not able to do that. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian Authority will continue to pursue the matter before the International Criminal Court.
The journalist's death had caused international consternation. The Palestinian Attorney General blamed Israel and accused the soldiers of deliberately killing the journalist. An investigation in the US had previously come to the conclusion that the deadly bullet was fired by the Israeli military, but that Abu Akle was not shot dead on purpose.
The US State Department said in Washington that the US welcomed Israel's investigation into the tragic incident. It is important to take precautions to prevent similar incidents in the future. At the same time, the ministry paid tribute to Abu Akle's work: She was a fearless reporter "who has won the respect of viewers all over the world with her journalism and her pursuit of truth".