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Anger as Israel rules out criminal probe into killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

THE family of slain Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh called for justice today after the Israeli army said it would not launch criminal investigations into her killing.

The Israeli military’s police said there would be no such probe as there is no suspicion of a criminal act.

Ms Abu Akleh was shot through the head as she reported on an Israeli army assault on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied territories. 

She was clearly identified as press and was wearing a protective helmet when she was targeted. 

The Palestinian Authority accused Israel of murdering the veteran Al Jazeera journalist who also held US citizenship.  

But the Israeli Defence Force said that its interim investigation could not determine whether Ms Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli or Palestinian gunfire. 

It claimed that treating Israeli soldiers as suspects would lead to opposition within Israeli society.

But autopsy reports carried out by the Palestinian Forensic Medicine, along with witness statements and medical personnel, found that the trajectory of the bullet could only have come from where Israeli forces were positioned. 

It concluded that the shooting was targeted and deliberate with gunfire continuing while people rushed to Ms Abu Akleh’s aid, preventing her from receiving immediate treatment. 

Shooting by Palestinian resistance fighters was ruled out by experts who called for the bullet to be examined and the establishment of an international commission of inquiry “with the power to force the Israeli occupation to hand over the weapons carried by its soldiers on the day of the crime in Jenin.”

Ms Abu Akleh’s family said they were not surprised by the decision from Tel Aviv and reiterated calls for independent investigations into her death.  

“We were expecting this from the Israeli side. That’s why we didn’t want them to participate in the investigation,” the family said in a statement to Al Jazeera. “We want to hold whoever is responsible for these acts accountable.

“We urge the United States in particular — since she is a US citizen — and the international community to open a just and transparent investigation and to put an end to the killings.” 

At least 45 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000 according to the Palestinian Ministry of Information.

The Palestinian Journalists Union puts the figure at 55. Voice of Al Aqsa journalist Yusef Abu Hussein was killed during Israel’s most recent assault on Gaza in May 2021.

A building hosting media organisations including Al Jazeera was also destroyed in a targeted air strike in the 11-day assault during which 260 Palestinians, including at least 66 children, were killed. 

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