Thursday's announcement by the Palestinian Authority regarding the shooting death Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Ab Akleh was made. It stated that it found out she was intentionally killed while trying to flee from Israeli forces.
This conclusion was widely expected and echoed those of a preliminary investigation that was announced almost two weeks ago. Israel rejected the findings and Defense Minister Benny Gantz called them "blatant lies".
Abu Akleh was a veteran Palestinian-American journalist for Al Jazeera’s Arabic service. He was shot in the head during an Israeli military raid on the city of Jenin, in the occupied West Bank.
Witnesses and officials from the Palestinian government claim that she was struck by Israeli fire. Israel claims she was killed in a clash between Israeli soldiers, Palestinian militants. According to the Palestinian Authority, only a ballistic analysis can be done on the bullet and the guns of soldiers to determine who fired it.
At a press conference in Ramallah, West Bank, the Palestinian Attorney General Akram al Khateeb announced the findings of his investigation, saying he found no militants within the immediate vicinity where Abu Akleh was situated.
He stated that "the only shooting was done by the occupation forces with the intention of killing."
Abu Akleh was among a group journalists who were wearing protective vests marked "press" and helmets. Al Khateeb claimed that the army saw them and recognized them as journalists.
He said that Israel had shot Abu Akleh while she was trying to flee. He reiterated the Palestinian claim that the bullet would not be given to Israelis for research. He stated that they had decided not to show any images of the bullet, "to deprive Israel of a new lie."
Al Khateeb stated that his investigation was based upon interviews with witnesses and an inspection of the scene. He also provided a forensic medical report.
Later Thursday, Lt. General Aviv Kohavi stated that it was impossible for anyone to determine who fired the bullet. He also called upon the Palestinians to work together to "get to bottom" of the events.
The military chief stated, "But there's one thing you can be certain of." "No soldier intentionally shot at a journalist. That was what we investigated. It was confirmed. This is our conclusion. There is none other.
Israel denies that it targeted journalists. It has suggested two scenarios: Abu Akleh was shot by Palestinian militants firing at an Israeli army convoy, or she was struck by Israeli gunfire at a militant. Although the military believes the rifle may have been used in this scenario, it says that the bullet must be tested before any final conclusions can be made.
Eyewitnesses have claimed that she was killed by Israeli troops. An AP reconstruction has supported them. A weapons expert who was interviewed by the AP for the reconstruction stated that it was impossible to make a definitive finding without further forensic investigation.