Human Lives Human Rights: The United States says the bullet that killed a Palestinian-American journalist was too badly damaged to reach a definitive conclusion about whether the origin was Israeli or Palestinian gunfire.
However, findings from both sides led the US to conclude that Israeli forces had likely but unintentionally fired the shot that hit Shireen Abu Aqla, but said there was no reason to believe she was shot intentionally.
Several media outlets have also pointed to Israel in the killing, with a CNN report saying she appeared to have been targeted by Israeli forces.
A New York Times investigation found that the bullet was fired from near the location of an Israeli military convoy, likely by a soldier from an elite unit, and that there were no armed Palestinians in the area.
“Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement after what he called “extremely detailed forensic analysis” of the bullet reluctantly handed over by the Palestinian Authority.
Abu Aqla, who held US citizenship and was one of the best-known Palestinian journalists, was fatally shot as she covered an Israeli army operation in Jenin in the West Bank despite wearing a vest that said ‘Press.’
Her death provoked anger, with the Palestinian Authority alleging she was shot intentionally in what amounted to a war crime – charges angrily denied by Israel, a close US ally that President Joe Biden is visiting in two weeks.
“We will remain engaged with Israel and the PA on next steps and urge accountability. We again offer our deepest condolences to the Abu Aqla family,” said the rare July 4 statement.
Abu Aqla’s family said in a statement it was “incredulous” that the examination could not determine whose gun fired the bullet that killed her.
“We will continue to advocate for justice for Shireen, and to hold the Israeli military and government accountable, no matter the attempts to obfuscate the reality of what happened on May 11,” it said.
Senior Palestinian Authority official Hussein Al Sheikh condemned efforts to “conceal the truth” while the Hamas group urged an international probe and said the United States was a “true accomplice” in her death.