Israel has pledged to conduct a thorough investigation into the death of an Al Jazeera journalist killed in an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday.
Defense Secretary Benny Gantz made the statement after U.S. officials condemned the killing of U.S. citizen Shireen Abu Akleh and the Israeli government backtracked on their initial statement that she was hit by a stray bullet.
“We’re trying to figure out what’s going on . . . I don’t have a final word,” Gantz said.
“At the moment we do not know what was the immediate cause of Shireen’s death. We are very decisive in a full investigation of the process and we hope to have Palestinian cooperation on this issue. Without the report of pathology and forensic findings, it is very difficult for us to investigate Know what’s going on there.”
Abu Akleh, a prominent Middle East journalist who, along with two other journalists covering the Israeli military attack, was killed when his troops came under fire.
Two journalists accompanying Abu Ackley were wounded in the exchange of fire – and blamed the Israeli army for the veteran journalist’s death.
Abu Akleh’s death has drawn new criticism of Israel’s military justice system, which is currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court.
“The Israeli occupying forces flagrantly murdered, in violation of international law and norms, the cold-blooded assassination of Al Jazeera correspondent in Palestine, Shireen Abu Akhleh,” an Al Jazeera statement said.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hit back, saying their own investigation found Palestinians responsible.
“Based on the information we have gathered, armed Palestinians – who fired indiscriminately at the time – appear to be responsible for the journalist’s tragic death,” Bennet said.
Gantz added that they have investigated all the forces involved but have yet to reach a final conclusion.
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