Israel has refused to cooperate with a US investigation into the murder of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
The White House tells the Israeli government it was not behind the FBI’s decision to investigate the death of an American-Palestinian journalist killed in an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank last May , according to Axios. The investigation reportedly fueled outrage among some Israeli officials, who called the decision a “big mistake”.
Senior White House and State Department officials have contacted Israel in recent days in an apparent effort to steer the Joe Biden administration away from the FBI’s recently opened investigation into the Abu Akleh murder, Abou Akleh said. Axios’ Barack Ravid reported Wednesday, citing three unnamed US and Israeli agents. officials.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz confirmed reports of a US investigation earlier this week, calling the decision “a big mistake” while insisting that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had already carried out “a professional and independent investigation.” He added that Israel would not cooperate with any further investigation.
The Israeli military’s own investigation concluded in September and concluded that the journalist was likely killed by unintentional fire from an Israeli soldier, but claimed that a ballistics test on a bullet fragment recovered from her body had been ” Inconclusive “ and that he could not rule out gunfire from Palestinian militants.
Abu Akleh was wearing a vest indicating that she was a member of the press at the time she was shot. Palestinian officials, the journalist’s family, as well as her former employer Al Jazeera allege she was deliberately targeted by the IDF, which has previously been accused of intentionally shooting journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A separate US-led investigation into the shooting of Abu Akleh – which occurred during an Israeli raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank town of Janin and left another journalist with less serious injuries – also determined that an Israeli soldier likely fired the bullet that killed her, but noted that there was “No reason to believe it was intentional.”
While this prior assessment is broadly in line with Israel’s own findings, the new FBI investigation has reportedly sparked outrage among senior officials behind the scenes, with Israel’s national security adviser Eyal Hulata, the ambassador to the United States Mike Herzog and Foreign Office Director General Alon Ushpiz each calling their American counterparts to demand an explanation.
“We’ve spoken to every Biden administration official we work with and made it clear how furious we are,” a senior Israeli official told Axios.
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