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U.S. Justice Dept. Investigates Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh in West Financial institution

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JERUSALEM — The U.S. Division of Justice has opened an investigation into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist, within the occupied West Financial institution, the Israeli Protection Ministry introduced on Monday evening.

Israel’s protection minister, Benny Gantz, confirmed {that a} U.S. inquiry had begun and stated that Israel wouldn’t take part, decreasing the probability {that a} court docket case would outcome. A number of investigations have concluded that Ms. Abu Akleh, who was shot within the head on Could 11, was in all probability killed by an Israeli soldier.

“The choice of the U.S. Division of Justice to analyze the unlucky dying of Shireen Abu Akleh is a grave mistake,” Mr. Gantz wrote in an announcement in Hebrew. The assertion added, “We won’t cooperate with any exterior investigation, and we won’t permit interference in Israel’s inside affairs.”

The announcement got here six months after Ms. Abu Akleh, a reporter for Al Jazeera, was slain whereas protecting an Israeli Military raid in Jenin, a Palestinian metropolis within the West Financial institution. Her dying drew world outrage and worldwide consideration to the risks of life within the occupied West Financial institution.

The U.S. transfer represented a shift within the Biden administration, which had concluded that Ms. Abu Akleh most probably was killed by photographs fired from the place of Israeli troopers, however had refused to publicly demand that Israel open a prison investigation.

The shift adopted Palestinian anger at perceived American resistance to a full investigation, in addition to a number of unbiased inquiries into Ms. Abu Akleh’s killing. A monthlong investigation by The New York Occasions discovered that the bullet that killed Ms. Abu Akleh had been fired from the approximate location of an Israeli navy convoy earlier that morning, most probably by a soldier from an elite unit, corroborating witness experiences from the location.

Different information organizations and the United Nations reached related conclusions.

The U.S. State Division stated in July that photographs fired from the place of Israeli troopers have been “possible liable for the dying” of Ms. Abu Akleh, however injury to the bullet made it tough to attract a definitive conclusion in regards to the gun from which it got here. At the moment, america additionally concluded that Ms. Abu Akleh had most probably been killed accidentally — however the announcement on Monday urged that at the very least some U.S. officers had drawn a special conclusion.

The Justice Division declined to touch upon Monday.

Ms. Abu Akleh, 51, was killed whereas protecting an increase in Israeli raids within the West Financial institution, a surge that has continued and that adopted an earlier rise in assaults by Palestinians that killed 19 Israelis. She was shot whereas sporting a blue flak jacket marked “Press,” and colleagues who got here beneath hearth on the identical time stated that they had thought the military was already conscious of their presence.

Israeli officers initially stated that Ms. Abu Akleh had most probably been killed by a Palestinian gunman throughout clashes between Israeli troopers and militants, earlier than conceding in September that “there’s a excessive chance” that she was killed by an Israeli soldier, whereas ruling out a prison investigation.

Ms. Abu Akleh was one among greater than 120 Palestinians killed as of November this yr throughout Israeli Military raids within the West Financial institution — most of them militants, however a few of them civilians.

For Palestinians, her killing turned a logo of the each day risks of life beneath Israeli occupation. Palestinian deaths hardly ever appeal to world consideration, besides throughout main episodes of violence, and Israeli troopers accused of crimes towards Palestinians within the West Financial institution are hardly ever jailed.

However Ms. Abu Akleh was a widely known determine within the Center East, and her deadly capturing provoked extra outcry. She had reported on the Israeli-Palestinian battle and Israel’s occupation of the West Financial institution for greater than 20 years.

Glenn Thrush and Adam Goldman contributed reporting from Washington, and Ronen Bergman from Tel Aviv.

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