U.S. Issues Conflicting Statements on Probe of Journalist’s Killing

By Zalman Ahnsaf

State Department spokesman Ned Price at a news conference at the State Department, in March, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, Pool)

YERUSHALAYIM – The United States made conflicting statements on Monday concerning the result of an investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, causing expressions of frustration from both Israel and the Palestinians.

Initially, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price announced that the results were inconclusive.

“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 said. “Ballistics determined that the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.”

Subsequently, both AP and Reuters reported that the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), concluded that gunfire from Israeli positions was likely responsible for Abu Akleh’s death.

“The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances during an IDF-led military operation against factions of Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” the State Department said in a statement.

Israeli officials were not accepting the second version, insisting that, as the first version said, the bullet was too damaged to allow for a definitive conclusion, according to The Times of Israel.

The Palestinians weren’t any happier. A senior Palestinian official accused the U.S. of protecting Israel.

“The truth is clear but the U.S. administration continues to stall in announcing it,” Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told Reuters. “We say Israel killed Shireen Abu Akleh and it has to be held responsible for the crime it has committed.”

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that “despite the forensic investigation, it was not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the source of the shooting – and as such, the investigation will continue.”

Gantz went on to put the blame for her death on Palestinian terrorists.

“It is important to emphasize that during this operational event, like in many others, hundreds of bullets were fired at IDF troops, which responded with firepower of their own, only in the direction of the sources of the shooting.

“The first to bear responsibility in such events, are the terrorists who operate from within population centers,” said Gantz.

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