Officials from the Palestinian Authority have refused Israel's request to work together to investigate whether Israeli forces shot an Al Jazeera journalist.
Officials from the two countries have been resistant to any endeavors to investigate whether Israel Defense Force soldiers shot Shireen Abu Akleh. Abu Akleh was reporting on a raid by Israeli forces in the city of Jenin when she was shot in the head. While her fellow reporters claimed that IDF soldiers shot the journalist, the military said it is uncertain and has promised an investigation into the matter.
FORENSIC OFFICIAL: UNCLEAR WHETHER ISRAELI OR PALESTINIAN FORCES KILLED JOURNALIST
“Israel has requested a joint investigation and to be handed over the bullet that assassinated the journalist Shireen, we refused that, and we affirmed that our investigation would be completed independently, and we will inform her family, USA, Qatar, and all official authorities and the public of the results of the investigation with high transparency," the Palestinian Authority's General Authority of Civil Affairs head Hussein al Sheikh said on Twitter.
He maintained that “all indications, evidence, and witnesses confirm her assassination by Israeli special units.”
“Anyone who claims the IDF killed the journalist is not doing so on the basis of an investigation or facts, but propaganda," Israel Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said in an interview with Army Radio. "We have said that we will investigate, and that’s what we’re doing — directly and honestly.”
Both the Palestinian Authority and Israel were in contact to conduct a ballistic analysis of the bullet that struck Abu Akleh, according to Channel 12.
However, forensic experts believe the origin of the round cannot be determined based on an initial autopsy.
"It cannot be determined whether [Abu Akleh] was killed by Israeli fire or by a Palestinian bullet," Dr. Rayyan al Ali, the director of the Palestinian Forensic Medicine Institute, said during an appearance on Channel 12 on Wednesday.
The director emphasized the findings are preliminary and that Abu Akleh died from the wound itself, not from blood loss. The bullet has already been identified as a 5.56x45 mm NATO round, which Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters both use.
Several supporters gathered in the courtyard of the Palestinian Authority's presidential headquarters on Thursday for a funeral service dedicated to Abu Akleh. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the event and awarded the journalist the Star of Jerusalem, the highest honor the Palestinian president can bestow.
The attack inspired international outrage. Tom Nides, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, confirmed that Abu Akleh was an American citizen and demanded a "thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death."
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Others immediately accused Israel of murder. "Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered by a government that receives unconditional funding by our country with zero accountability," Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) tweeted. Tlaib later held a moment of silence on the House floor for Abu Akleh.
Abu Akleh is scheduled to be buried in Jerusalem on Friday.