Palestinian Authority Gives Bullet That Killed Al Jazeera Reporter to US for Testing
The Palestinian Authority announced on Saturday night that it had handed the bullet that killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh to US officials for forensic testing. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hand over the bullet so the Americans could analyze it. The Palestinian American journalist was killed on May 11 while covering an Israeli raid in Jenin, located in the northern West Bank. Video footage shows her wearing a blue “press” vest and helmet while under fire. The Palestinians accuse the Israeli military of intentionally killing her – a claim that Israel denies. Israeli officials initially said she could have been caught in crossfire with Palestinian gunmen. Later, they backtracked on this speculation, stating that they could not rule out the possibility that an Israeli soldier had fired the shot. Israel offered to test the bullet in the presence of a US observer, but the PA rejected the offer. Palestinian leaders said they were assured Israel would not take part in the ballistics testing. The announcement comes ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during a July 13-16 visit to the region.