The Palestinian Authority handed over to the Americans for expertise the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in May, the Palestinian chief prosecutor said on Saturday July 2.
Shireen Abu Akleh was killed on May 11 while covering an Israeli military operation in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank.
Asked by Agence France-Presse (AFP) whether the bullet had already been handed over to the Americans to allow them to assess it, prosecutor Akram Al-Khatib replied “yes”. He said the Americans had pledged to return it to the Palestinians. According to Palestinian sources in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, the expertise will be conducted at the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
The official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported on Saturday evening that the Palestinian Authority had given the green light to hand the ball to the United States, but not to Israel.
Israel rejects UN version
Since the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, Israel has been asking the Palestinians to hand over the fatal bullet to them, in order to determine if it really came from an Israeli soldier’s weapon. The Palestinian Authority has always refused to hand them the bullet and recently asked the Israelis to send the fatal weapon to the journalist. The Israeli army keeps saying that it is “impossible to determine whether (the journalist) was killed by a Palestinian gunman firing indiscriminately in the area where she was, or inadvertently by an Israeli soldier”.
According to the Palestinian investigation, the star journalist of the Arab channel Al Jazeera was killed by a 5.56 mm caliber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier who used an M-14, a semi-automatic weapon. Journalistic investigations have also pointed in the direction of the Israeli army. Ditto for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which concluded that an Israeli soldier was fatally shot.
But the IDF rejected the UN version, with Defense Minister Benny Gantz calling it a “baseless” investigation.