Al Jazeera, via Facebook

A monthlong investigation by The New York Times has found that the Israeli bullet that killed Abu Akleh was fired while no armed Palestinians were near her, contradicting Israeli claims.

Iran PressMiddle East: The journalists thought they were safe.

Several blocks away, a gunfight between the Israeli regime's soldiers and Palestinian men had just stopped. Hoping to interview witnesses, the group of reporters headed down the street toward an Israeli military convoy. Among them was Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American television correspondent.

Suddenly, six bullets flew toward them, and they ran for cover. Abu Akleh crouched next to a carob tree.

Seven more shots rang out.

“Is anyone injured?” a bystander, Sleem Awad, yelled, before seeing Abu Akleh slumped facedown on the ground. “Shireen! Shireen!” he shouted, having recognized the well-known journalist. “Oh man, Shireen!”

Palestinian officials said Abu Akleh was intentionally killed early on May 11 in the West Bank city of Jenin by an Israeli soldier. Israeli officials said a soldier might have shot her by mistake but also suggested that she might have been killed by a Palestinian gunman. The Israeli Army’s preliminary investigation concluded that it was “not possible to unequivocally determine the source of the gunfire.”

A monthlong investigation by The New York Times found that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was fired from the approximate location of the Israeli military convoy, most likely by a soldier from an elite unit.

The evidence reviewed by The Times showed that there were no armed Palestinians near her when she was shot. It contradicted Israeli claims that, if a soldier had mistakenly killed her, it was because he had been shooting at a Palestinian gunman.

The Times investigation also showed that 16 shots were fired from the location of the Israeli convoy, as opposed to Israeli claims that the soldier had fired five bullets in the journalists’ direction. The Times found no evidence that the person who fired recognized Ms. Abu Akleh and targeted her personally. The Times was unable to determine whether the shooter saw that she and her colleagues were wearing protective vests emblazoned with the word Press.

The locations of Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinian men, based on video and photos collected from bystanders, journalists, security cameras and social media. Satellite image: Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction; Graphics: The New York Times.

The Times’ investigation reconstructed the moments leading up to Abu Akleh’s killing, using video collected from bystanders, journalists and security cameras, interviews with seven witnesses as well as the Israeli military’s accounts, audio analysis from experts and four site visits by Times reporters.

There were at least two pockets of Israeli soldiers as well as armed Palestinian militants in several spots in the neighborhood around the time Abu Akleh was shot, and there were multiple exchanges of fire among them.

But while no video has emerged that shows the fatal moment, video taken in the seconds before and after her killing shows no armed Palestinians in her vicinity.

Seven journalists and bystanders who were at the scene also said no gunmen were nearby, and Israeli officials have provided no evidence of one.


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