An investigation by an open-source research team said its initial findings suggest Palestinian American Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire.
The outcome of these investigations could help shape international opinion over who is responsible for Abu Akleh's death, particularly if an official “Israeli” military probe drags on. “Israel” and the Palestinians are locked in a war of narratives that already has put “Israel” on the defensive.
Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American and a 25-year veteran of the satellite channel, was killed last Wednesday while covering an “Israeli” military raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. She was a household name across the Arab world, known for documenting the hardship of Palestinian life under “Israeli” rule, now in its sixth decade.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said he had spoken to Abu Akleh's family to express condolences and respect for her work “as well as the need to have an immediate and credible investigation” into her death.
Palestinian officials and witnesses, including journalists who were with her, say she was killed by army fire. The military, after initially saying Palestinian gunmen might have been responsible, later backtracked and now says she may also have been hit by errant “Israeli” fire.
“Israel” has called for a joint investigation with the Palestinians, saying the bullet must be analyzed by ballistics experts to reach firm conclusions. Palestinian officials have refused, saying they don't trust “Israel”, and have invited other countries to join the investigation. Human rights groups say “Israel” has a poor record of investigating wrongdoing by its security forces.
Over the weekend, Bellingcat, a Dutch-based international consortium of researchers, published an analysis of video and audio evidence gathered on social media. The material came from both Palestinian and “Israeli” military sources, and the analysis looked at such factors as timestamps, the locations of the videos, shadows and forensic audio analysis of gunshots.
The group found that while gunmen and “Israeli” soldiers were both in the area, the evidence supported witness accounts that “Israeli” fire killed Abu Akleh./AP