The brother of Shireen Abu Aqla has harshly criticized a US investigation that found that the Palestinian-American reporter’s death was probably caused by unintended Israeli gunfire. The findings, according to Tony Abu Aqla, were “unacceptable,” and he insisted that Israeli soldiers had targeted his sister. While reporting on an Israeli operation in the occupied West Bank in May, the Al Jazeera correspondent was shot in the head.
According to the US, the bullet was too damaged to determine the point of origin. An important member of the Palestinian Authority, which believes that Abu Aqla was killed deliberately by an Israeli soldier, accused the US of defending Israel. The tragic death of Abu Aqla was lamented by Israel’s prime minister, who added that the country’s military’s inquiry had conclusively shown that there was no desire to hurt her. One of the most seasoned and well-liked correspondents for the Middle East, Shireen Abu Aqla was 51 years old.
She was killed on the 11th of May while walking down a road in the West Bank city of Jenin, close to where a gunfight between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants had just ended. She was wearing a flak jacket with the word “Press” on it and a helmet. Ali Samoudi, a different Palestinian journalist, sustained injuries. The shooting, according to Mr. Samoudi and the accompanying journalists, was fired by Israeli soldiers who were stationed on the road. It was determined by some media investigations as well as one by the UN Human Rights Office that Israeli soldiers fired, or seemed to fire the fatal shot.
The bullet, which was turned over by the Palestinian Authority to the US Security Coordinator (USSC) over the weekend, underwent a forensic analysis by independent examiners, according to the US state department, but it was too badly damaged for them to determine whether an Israeli or Palestinian gun fired it.
However, the USSC concluded that the shooting from IDF [Israel Defense Forces] positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Aqla after evaluating the information from both sides, according to the statement. The statement went on to say that the USSC found no basis to infer that this was purposeful but rather the outcome of sad circumstances.
Tony Abu Aqla said: “We cannot really believe that the US state department would come up with such a statement. It’s unacceptable.”
He added: “It was obvious that there were 16 bullets fired, all at the same head level, and one I think 1.3m [4.3ft] high, which is targeting the head. Only journalists were hit, two journalists. Shireen unfortunately didn’t make it. Ali Samoudi was injured… I would like to know how they come up with that it wasn’t deliberate.”
Mr. Abu Aqla stated that if US officials do not take action, his family will take all necessary steps to hold those responsible accountable.