PA Refuses Israeli Request to Hand Over Bullet Removed From Body of Al-Jazeera Reporter

By Yoni Weiss

Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian protestor near the house of Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, in Yerushalayim, on Wednesday. (REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

YERUSHALAYIM – Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, who is responsible for relations with Israel, said on Thursday morning that the PA has refused an Israeli request to hand over the bullet that was removed from the body of Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed Wednesday morning during a gun battle between IDF troops and Palestinian terrorists in Jenin.

According to al-Sheikh, the investigation will be carried out independently by the PA and the findings will be given to the relevant bodies, including the U.S. Al-Sheikh said all signs indicate that the journalist was killed by IDF gunfire.

Several thousand Palestinians gathered at Al-Jazeera’s offices in Ramallah, holding signs with Abu Akleh’s picture.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry immediately launched a public relations campaign across the globe, claiming that Israel committed a war crime. Earlier, a senior PA official said that the PA had asked the Americans to order an independent investigation with international investigators.

The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization said via its branch in Jenin that the “occupation forces failed miserably in their effort to arrest the Palestinian fighters in Jenin. We will continue to be the protective armor of the Palestinian people, and the death of the shahid [martyr] Shireen Abu Akleh will not be in vain. We will not allow the enemy to invade our cities and villages without our resistance and we will force them to pay a price for their crimes.”

Meanwhile, a senior IDF official said the coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit had requested the bullet that was found in Abu Akleh’s body in order to run a forensic test to determine the source of the gunfire. For the sake of transparency, Israeli officials proposed that Palestinian and American representatives be present during the testing.

The White House, for its part, strongly condemned the killing of Abu Akleh and called for an investigation into her death.

Al-Jazeera said in a statement that Israeli forces killed Abu Akleh, condemning it as “a blatant murder, violating international laws and norms.” The news outlet also said that Abu Akleh was wearing press gear that clearly identified her as a journalist when she was killed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a “thorough, objective investigation” into Abu Akleh’s killing, decrying it as a “horrific tragedy.”

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