Jerusalem: Israel has said that tests of the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh could not determine whether soldiers shot her because of the “physical condition” of the bullet.
A ballistic examination, which was conducted in a forensic laboratory in Israel by Israeli experts, could not yield a definitive conclusion on the origin of the bullet that killed the Palestinian-American reporter, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by the Israeli military.
“The physical condition of the bullet and the quality of the characteristics on it do not enable a ballistic examination to conclusively determine whether or not the bullet was fired from the weapon which was examined,” the statement read.
The bullet remained under the custodianship of the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority Michael R. Fenzel after receiving it from the Palestinian authorities and until it was returned on Sunday following the conclusion of the examination.
Representatives of the US Security Coordinator were also present during the ballistic examination.
US State Department said on Monday that gunfire from Israeli positions likely killed Abu Akleh, but independent investigators could not give a conclusive answer regarding the source of the bullet.
In late May, the Palestinian Authority announced that its probe revealed that Abu Akleh was “deliberately” shot by an Israeli sniper, but Israel has denied this.
A prior Israeli investigation concluded that no Israeli soldier “deliberately fired at Ms. Abu Akleh.” According to Israel, she came under fire during a fire exchange between Israeli forces and armed Palestinians.
Meantime, the U.S. Security Coordinator, by summarizing both the Israeli and Palestinian investigation, said in a statement that gunfire from Israeli positions was “likely responsible” for the death of Abu Akleh but it “found no reason to believe that this was intentional.”
Abu Akleh was killed while covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin in the northern West Bank on May 11. She was wearing a vest marked “Press” and a helmet.
Separate investigations carried out by the United Nations and several international media outlets have found the shot that killed Abu Akleh was fired by Israeli soldiers.