State Dept: Test of Bullet That Killed Abu Akleh ‘Inconclusive’


Hundreds gather for the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Yerushalayim, May 13. (Jamal Awadl/Flash90)

The tests of the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh are inconclusive, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday.

“After an extremely detailed forensic analysis, independent third-party examiners, as part of a process overseen by the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh,” the State Department statement said. “Ballistics determined that the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.”

Ballistics tests can be performed on bullets to attempt to identify signature markings unique to specific firearms. A photo released by Al Jazeera allegedly of the bullet that killed Abu Akleh shows the projectile to have an odd deformation, though largely intact. According to Al Jazeera, the round reportedly ricocheted on the inside of Abu Akleh’s helmet.

Abu Akleh was killed in Jenin during a gun battle between IDF soldiers and Palestinian terrorists on May 11. Initial investigations into who fired the fatal bullet produced no results, but the Palestinian Authority asserted that the results of its review put the blame on IDF soldiers.

PA Attorney-General Akram Khatib had announced that the bullet had been given to a U.S. team of experts on Saturday, and on Sunday IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav had asserted that the examination of the projectile would be performed by Israel with “an American presence.”

The PA had initially refused to allow the bullet to be transferred to Israeli investigators, but relented prior to the arrival of President Joe Biden for his Middle East trip. Abu Akleh is a U.S. citizen.

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