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New York Times investigation finds Israeli soldier killed Shireen Abu Akleh

June 21, 2022 at 4:06 pm

People gather to protest the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while covering an Israeli raid in West Bank on May 14, 2022 [Raşid Necati Aslım – Anadolu Agency]

The New York Times is the latest US news agency to conclude that Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, was most likely killed by an Israeli soldier. A month-long investigation by The Times found that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was fired from the approximate location of the Israeli military convoy, most likely by a soldier from an elite unit.

Evidence reviewed by The Times debunked Israeli claims, and showed that there were no armed Palestinians near Abu Akleh when she was shot. The occupation state had tried to pin the blame on Palestinians by swiftly releasing a video that went viral. The Times investigation contradicts what now clearly appears to be an Israeli fabrication, and shows that no Palestinian gunman was in the vicinity.

In total, 16 shots were fired from the location of the Israeli convoy, as opposed to Israeli claims that the soldier had fired five bullets in the journalists’ direction. The Times investigation found that, while no video has emerged that shows the fatal moment, video taken in the seconds before and after the killing of Abu Akleh shows that the elite Israel forces were the only ones capable of killing her.

None of the evidence reviewed by The Times was able to connect Palestinian gunmen with the shooting. Critically, the aural analysis of the gunfire suggested that all 16 bullets were fired from the approximate location of the Israeli vehicle. Israel’s own preliminary investigation found that an unidentified soldier from the elite Duvdevan unit fired five bullets.

ICC urged to end Israel’s ‘devastating impunity’, as war crimes probe includes Abu Akleh

Palestinian officials accused the Israelis of killing Abu Akleh intentionally, citing the fact that she had been shot in the head from behind, while wearing a vest that identified her as a journalist.

In a rare admission of Israel’s impunity, The Times conceded that Palestinian deaths rarely attract international scrutiny, and soldiers accused of crimes against Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank are rarely convicted.

With The Times reporting the results of its findings, there is a growing consensus amongst major US new agencies that Abu Akleh was killed by an Israeli soldier. The Associated Press, Washington Post and CNN have also reached the same conclusion, as have many others.

So far, their findings have had very little effect on the US administration. President Joe Biden has been reluctant to authorise an independent investigation of Abu Akleh’s killing even though she is an American citizen. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, appeared to wipe his hands off the matter and foreclose having to deal with the prospect of holding Israel accountable for the killing.

Following the release of The Times investigation, member of US Congress, Ilhan Omar, slammed the Biden administration for having failed to demand justice for Abu Akleh. “Since the @StateDept won’t do their own independent investigation. American media has, from the Associated Press, CNN, The Washington Post, and now The NYTimes, and they concluded that Israel is responsible for the death of 🇺🇸 journalist” said Omar in a tweet.

Shireen Abu Akleh: the West remains shamefully silent, but we journalists must not