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Israel responds to UN report accusing it of Abu Akleh killing

June 25, 2022 at 1:06 pm

Muslim and Christian demonstrators gather to protest held at the Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza City, Gaza [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli army has responded to a report by the United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) accusing Israeli forces of killing Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

The army announced in a statement: “Following the biased investigations that have been presented in recent days, the IDF once again reiterates its call to the Palestinians to share access to the bullet with which the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed. The Palestinian Authority cooperates with Israel on investigations from time to time. The Palestinians’ refusal to transfer the bullet and hold a joint investigation with American representation is telling of their motives.”

“It should be noted that this was an operational event during which an exchange of fire occurred between IDF soldiers and Palestinian gunmen during counterterrorism activities in Jenin,” added the statement.

The statement continued: “Ever since the incident, the IDF has been investigating and reviewing the circumstances of Ms Abu Akleh’s death. The IDF investigation clearly concludes that Ms Abu Akleh was not intentionally shot by an IDF soldier and that it is not possible to determine whether she was killed by a Palestinian gunman shooting indiscriminately in her area or inadvertently by an IDF soldier.”

The statement concludes: “The IDF regrets harm to non-combatants, including during exchanges of fire and active combat situations, and is heavily invested in maintaining the movement and freedom of the press.”

On Friday, the UN OHCHR concluded that Abu Akleh was killed on 11 May by Israeli forces.

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani said at a press conference in Geneva: “All information we have gathered – including official information from the Israeli military and the Palestinian attorney-general – is consistent with the finding that the shots that killed Abu Akleh and injured her colleague Ali Sammoudi came from Israeli Security Forces and not from indiscriminate firing by armed Palestinians, as initially claimed by Israeli authorities.”

READ: New York Times investigation finds Israeli soldier killed Shireen Abu Akleh