RAMALLAH: Palestinian Justice Minister Mohammed Al-Shalaldeh says Israel bears full responsibility for the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and that it was a crime premeditated which amounts to a war crime.
Abu Akleh was shot in the head Wednesday morning during an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Six days after Israel denied that its soldiers were responsible, an Israel Defense Forces officer told Haaretz that an Israeli soldier appeared to have shot Abu Akleh and killed her.
The officer added that an Israeli soldier sitting in an army vehicle with a rifle fitted with a telescopic lens shot Abu Akleh from 190 meters and killed her.
During his subsequent interrogation, the soldier stated that he did not know he had shot Abu Akleh when he fired, that he had not seen her, and that he did not know her identity.
Al-Shalaldeh said: “Let whoever fired know that this projectile is in our possession, and the proof is that we cannot participate with the Israelis in this investigation because we also have sovereignty under the Israeli occupation. , and so we do. do not allow this to be a joint investigation, and have many similar bad experiences with the occupying power.
He added that examining the ball would take time due to the nature of forensic investigations.
“All specialists and experts in this regard take all legal measures, but in principle we say in terms of evidence, and criminal evidence says that the projectile came from…Israeli occupation soldiers,” he said. said the minister.
Israeli TV Channel 12 reported that the United States had asked Israel for clarification regarding the investigation into the death of Abu Akleh, who was a Palestinian American citizen.
The Palestinian public prosecutor has requested an autopsy of Abu Akleh’s body to determine the cause of death and locate any evidence to link him to the responsible party.
On May 12, the Institute of Forensic Medicine at An-Najah National University in Nablus revealed that the gunshot that killed Abu Akleh left him with no chance of survival, even with medical intervention.
Dr Rayan Al-Ali, director of the institute, said the bullet created a complete laceration of the brain and skull upon impact.
Al-Ali said the distance of the shot could not be precisely determined. “All we can conclude now is that the distance is over a meter, which means the shot came from a (distant) source,” he said.
He pointed out that the doctors found a mutilated projectile, and added: “The size of the wound tells us the nature of the weapon used, and what we can say now is that it is of a long, belted, high-velocity weapon,”
Al-Ali stressed that it was not possible to release further information at this time.
Al Jazeera’s Ramallah bureau chief Walid Al-Omari confirmed the occupation forces’ role in Abu Akleh’s death in a speech outside An-Najah University Hospital in Nablus.
Eyewitness accounts, from fellow journalists to civilians present at the time of Abu Akleh’s death, also imply that the shots came from the IDF.
Al-Omari said: “We have a premeditated crime and an assassination in the open field, where journalists, including Abu Akleh, wore what distinguished and protected them. Their shot came deliberately.
An internal IDF investigation found that an Israeli sniper from the Dovdovan special unit had fired through a hole in his armored military vehicle and likely hit Abu Akleh by mistake.
“The army’s investigation is a partial investigation, so they asked for the bullet from the Palestinian side because of its great scientific importance, and examining the bullet allows them to confirm whether it was fired from an Israeli rifle. whether or not Israeli,” an Israeli official said. a defense expert told Arab News.