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US says Israel “likely responsible” for death of Abu Akleh

Israeli ballistics experts say the bullet was "badly damaged", preventing a "clear conclusion" regarding the origin of the bullet.

Jerusalem24 – The US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC), which oversaw a ballistics examination by the Israelis of the bullet that killed veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, has issued the conclusion that “gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death” of Abu Akleh.

The Palestinian Authority handed over the bullet to US officials on Saturday, after refusing to do so for weeks due to a lack of trust in the ability of Israel to investigate itself.

A ballistics examination was completed by Sunday night and the bullet was returned to the Palestinians by 8am on Monday.

According to Axios, the publication of the results was postponed to Monday “because of the late hour” on Sunday.

The US Department of State issued a statement with the USSC conclusions and ballistics report at 5pm on Monday.

According to the Israelis, the ballistics analysis could not determine who fired the fatal shot that killed Abu Akleh because it was “badly damaged.”

A ballistics analysis conducted in Palestine concluded that Abu Akleh was killed with a 0.556 caliber bullet fired from a modified Ruger.

The Israeli ballistics opinion was also shared by the USSC, who was granted full access to both the Israeli military’s and the Palestinian Authority’s investigations over the last several weeks. Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said in the statement that “gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.”

The Israeli and American statements sparked outrage and were slammed by the Palestinian Public Prosecutor’s office which was also investigating the case of Abu Akleh’s killing.

The head of the prosecutor’s office, Akram Khatib, said in a statement that their investigation was based on a set of irrefutable evidence, including technical reports, examinations, and eyewitness testimonies. The statement also said that their investigation “proved unequivocally that at the time and place of the crime there were no manifestations or armed confrontations.”

The lack of gunfighting in the area of Abu Akleh’s killing was also demonstrated in investigations by the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority, the Washington Post, CNN, the New York Times, Associated Press, and Bellingcat. All of the aforementioned investigations also pointed out that the gunfire that killed her came from the location of the Israeli soldiers.

Khatib reiterated that Israel bears full responsibility for Abu Akleh’s death. He also stated that the Palestinians will pursue legal procedures to prosecute Israel before international courts.

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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