(September 5, 2022 / JNS) It is very probable that Israeli fire caused the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin on May 11, the Israeli military said on Monday.
The Palestinian-American correspondent was killed during a firefight between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen.
Following the conclusion of a series of investigations launched into the incident, “it appears that it is not possible to unequivocally determine the source of the gunfire which hit Ms. Abu Akleh. However, there is a high possibility that Ms. Abu Akleh was accidentally hit by IDF gunfire that was fired toward suspects identified as armed Palestinian gunmen, during an exchange of fire in which life-risking, widespread and indiscriminate [fire was directed] toward IDF soldiers,” the Israeli military said in a statement.
The IDF emphasized that at no point was Israeli fire directed at anyone other than the terrorists shooting at Israeli forces, some of whom fired “from the area in which Ms. Shireen Abu Akleh was present.”
The possibility that Abu Akleh was hit by Palestinian fire “remains relevant,” the statement continued.
The investigation’s findings were presented to IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi by OC Central Command Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs.
“The death of Shireen Abu Akleh is a devastating incident,” said Kochavi in a statement. However, he continued, “The incident took place during operational activity intended to prevent Palestinian terrorism, which calls for the harming of Israeli civilians. The journalist was present in the area during an exchange of fire that lasted for almost an hour. At that time, armed Palestinian gunmen shot wild and indiscriminate gunfire toward IDF soldiers and in every direction, endangering their lives.”
The Israeli military, he stressed, goes to great lengths to avoid harming civilians.
“The IDF operates in immensely complex areas at a professional and high-quality level every night, while taking actions to avoid harming non-combatants. The IDF makes great efforts to this end, while working to allow press coverage and the freedom of the press. The Palestinian terrorists hide and operate from within the Palestinian population, endangering their lives on an ongoing basis. This is an immense challenge for the IDF, but it is our professional and moral duty to stop and prevent terrorism, as well as achieving our goal—to defend Israeli civilians and the State of Israel.”
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