Findings from the Initial Investigation into the Shooting Incident in which the Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was Killed
Yesterday (Thursday), the Commanding Officer of the Central Command, MG Yehuda Fox, and the Head of the Commando Brigade, COL Meni Liberty, presented the Chief of the General Staff, LTG Aviv Kohavi, with the conclusions of the initial investigation into the shooting incident which led to the death of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
On the night in question (May 11, 2022), IDF soldiers conducted a counterterrorism operation in the Jenin area, with the goal of apprehending terror suspects. During the activity in the Jenin Camp, Palestinian gunmen fired continuously and indiscriminately. The Palestinian gunmen also fired directly and hurled explosives at the soldiers and IDF military vehicles, which were hit.
As the soldiers left the area toward the end of the operation, in daylight hours, the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was present at the battle zone during the exchange of fire was hit.
The IDF has been examining the incident since it occurred, in order to clarify the details surrounding Ms. Abu Akleh’s death. At the end of the initial investigation, a number of details requiring further clarification remained. However, the details regarding the incident and the various possibilities which led to Ms. Abu Akleh’s death are becoming clearer.
The initial investigation concluded that it is not possible to unequivocally determine the source of the gunfire which hit and killed Ms. Abu Akleh.
The investigation presented two possibilities for the source of the gunfire:
First, hundreds of bullets were fired by Palestinian gunmen from a number of locations. Dozens of bullets were also fired toward IDF vehicles, which is also the direction where Ms. Abu Akleh was, making this a possible source of the gunfire that hit and killed her.
The second possibility is that during the exchange of fire between the Palestinian gunmen and IDF soldiers, a soldier fired a few bullets from a designated firing hole in an IDF vehicle using a telescopic scope at a Palestinian gunman who was shooting at the aforementioned vehicle. The Palestinian gunman fired multiple barrages of gunfire at the IDF soldier, and there is the possibility that Ms. Abu Akleh, who was near the Palestinian gunman from behind, was hit by the soldier's fire toward the Palestinian gunmen. The distance between the IDF vehicle and Ms. Abu Akleh was approximately 200 meters.
The acquisition of the bullet to conduct a professional ballistics test may be able to determine which of these possibilities occurred. At this moment the Palestinian Authority has not cooperated with the request to conduct a joint investigation. The Palestinian Authority has also not cooperated with the request to pass on the findings of their investigation, or the bullet, to the IDF. Israel has offered for both Palestinian and American representatives to be present and to participate in professional, pathological and ballistic tests, as well as the forensic examination of the bullet. This offer was received with no will for cooperation or response.
The Chief of the General Staff, LTG Aviv Kohavi, instructed the continuation of the investigation with a commitment to transparency and revealing the truth of the incident, using all tools available to the IDF.
The IDF expresses its deep condolences over the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, sees great importance in preserving the freedom of the press and will continue operating to ensure it.
The IDF will continue to thwart terrorism wherever it is required to and uphold its missions, while continuing its efforts to avoid harming non-combatants.