Israel refuses to cooperate with FBI probe into journalist’s death
Israel has carried out its own probe into the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and won’t cooperate with the FBI’s investigation into the incident, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted on Monday.
Media reports claimed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had launched a probe into the killing of Palestinian-American media worker, who was shot dead while covering an Israeli raid in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank in mid-May. US officials updated their Israeli counterparts on the move earlier this month, sources told the Times of Israel paper.
“The decision taken by the US Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the tragic passing of Shireen Abu Akleh, is a mistake,” Gantz wrote on Twitter in English. The Hebrew version of the message was formulated in harsher terms, labeling the US actions “a grave mistake.”
He said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have already carried out “a professional, independent investigation” into the death of the Al Jazeera reporter, and its findings were presented to Washington.
“I have delivered a message to US representatives that we stand by the IDF’s soldiers, that we will not cooperate with an external investigation, and will not enable intervention to internal investigations,” Gantz insisted.
An Israeli probe established that Abu Akleh, who was shot despite wearing a vest marked “Press” and a blue helmet, was likely hit by a bullet that an Israeli soldier fired by mistake. It also didn’t rule out the possibility that the 51-year-old came under Palestinian fire.
However, Palestinian officials and Abu Akleh’s family, as well as Al Jazeera, insist the renowned journalist, who had been covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for two decades, had been deliberately targeted by the IDF.
Abu Akleh’s death has led to anger and protests in the Middle East and elsewhere, with tensions mounting even further after the Israeli police used force to disperse mourners at her funeral.