Israeli Military Admits a Soldier Likely Killed Palestinian-American Reporter in Occupied West Bank

The Israeli army on Monday admitted that there is a “high possibility” one of its soldiers killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in May, The Associated Press reports.

An unidentified Israeli military official told reporters on Monday that a soldier opened fire after mistaking the journalist for a militant.

But he provided no evidence to back Israel’s claim that Palestinian gunmen were in the area. He also did not address video evidence that shows the area quiet before Abu Akleh was shot.

The official said no one would be punished for the killing.

“He misidentified her,” the official said. “His reports in real time...absolutely point to a misidentification.”

Groups condemn:

Abu Akleh was wearing a helmet and a vest clearly identifying her as a member of the press when she was shot while covering Israeli military raids in the occupied West Bank.

“It was no mistake. It’s policy,” the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem told the AP.

Al Jazeera bureau chief Walid Al-Omari accused Israel of seeking to avoid responsibility.

“This is clearly an attempt to circumvent the opening of a criminal investigation,” he told the AP.

Family criticizes:

Abu Akleh’s family argued that the army “tried to obscure the truth and avoid responsibility” for the killing.

“Our family is not surprised by this outcome since it’s obvious to anyone that Israeli war criminals cannot investigate their own crimes. However, we remain deeply hurt, frustrated and disappointed,” they said in a statement, calling for an independent probe by the United States and by the International Criminal Court.

 

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