Israeli Military Rejects CNN Report Claiming Israeli Troops Killed Al Jazeera Reporter in Targeted Attack
Palestinian women stand on May 19, 2022 in front of an art exhibit honoring slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, at the spot where she was killed while covering an Israeli army raid in Jenin in the West Bank. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images)

Israeli Military Rejects CNN Report Claiming Israeli Troops Killed Al Jazeera Reporter in Targeted Attack

Israeli troops probably killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh in a targeted attack, the American news network CNN charged in a report published on Tuesday. Abu Akleh, 51, a Palestinian American from Jerusalem, was covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin when she was shot dead on May 11. The Israeli military said it faced “widespread and uncontrolled gunfire” when it entered the Jenin refugee camp, a claim that Palestinians dispute. Salim Awad, a Jenin resident who filmed the incident, told CNN that no armed Palestinians were in the area where Abu Akleh was killed. “There was no conflict or confrontations at all. We were about 10 guys, give or take, walking around, laughing and joking with the journalists,” the network reports him saying. “We were not afraid of anything. We didn’t expect that anything would happen, because when we saw journalists around, we thought it’d be a safe area.”

CNN also interviewed Jamal Huwail, a professor at the Arab American University in Jenin and a former Fatah legislator, who was present when Abu Akleh was shot. Huwail told the network, “They were shooting directly at the journalists.”

IDF Military Advocate-General Maj. Gen. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi said on Monday that a full investigation was necessary to determine the circumstances of Abu Akleh’s death, but and that the Palestinians’ refusal to allow Israel access to the fatal bullet “leaves doubt.”

The findings from an autopsy on Abu Akleh’s body, conducted at the Forensic Medicine Institute at An-Najah University in Nablus, were inconclusive, with Rayyan al-Ali, the director of the institute saying he was unable to determine who shot Abu Akleh.

The Israeli military responded to the CNN report on Wednesday morning, saying in a statement, “The IDF has been investigating the circumstances of the reporter’s death in a thorough manner since the incident. The interim investigation revealed it was not possible to determine the source of the shooting.”

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll also denied the accuracy of CNN’s report, saying, “CNN’s claims that the IDF intentionally shot journalist Shireen Abu Akleh have no basis. The IDF acts in Jenin only to prevent terrorism against Israel’s citizens. This report is filled with inaccuracies and unreliable testimonies. We once again call on the Palestinians to cooperate with Israel in the investigation of the incident, but they continue to refuse. What do they have to hide?”

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