The interim findings of an Israeli army investigation could not determine who fired the bullet that killed an Al Jazeera reporter in the occupied West Bank, the military said Friday.
The 51-year-old Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran for the Qatar-based news channel, was shot dead on Wednesday during an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank.
“The conclusion from the interim report is that it’s not possible to determine the source of the gunfire that hit and killed the reporter,” the Israeli army said in a statement.
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“The investigation shows two possibilities for the source of the shot that killed her,” the report said.
The first could have been “massive fire of Palestinian gunmen [at Israeli soldiers], as part of which hundreds of bullets were shot from a number of locations.”
“The other option is that during the gunfight, one of the soldiers shot a few bullets from a jeep using a telescopic scope at a terrorist who was firing at his vehicle,” it added.
Israel and the Palestinians have traded blame over the fatal shooting, with Israel calling for a joint probe and stressing the need for Palestinian authorities to hand over the fatal bullet for forensic examination.
The Palestinian Authority has rejected holding a joint probe with Israel, saying Israel was “completely responsible” for her death.
The Israeli army said it would continue investigating the incident with all its available means, lamenting the absence of the key piece of evidence that could determine if it was an Israeli soldier or Palestinian militant who fired the bullet that killed Abu Akleh.
“Receiving the bullet for a professional ballistic examination could decree between these two options,” the army’s statement said, noting the Palestinian refusal to hold a joint probe “or hand us the findings of their investigation, including the bullet.”
Interim Israel army probe says unclear who shot Al Jazeera journalist