Israeli military ‘likely responsible’ for Palestinian journalist’s death, US says

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Israeli military ‘likely responsible’ for Palestinian journalist’s death, US says

But it adds forensic analysis of bullet handed over by Palestinians could not 'definitively' be linked to Shireen Abu Akleh's death

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

A picture of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by gunfire this week, in Qatar (Photo: Reuters/Imad Creidi)
A picture of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by gunfire in May (Photo: Reuters/Imad Creidi)

Israeli forces were “likely responsible” for the death of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh even though the bullet that killed her could not be definitively linked to the IDF, according to an American-led investigation.

The findings of the probe by the US Security Coordinator were announced on Monday, a day after the bullet was handed to the United States by the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said its investigation “showed conclusively” that there was no intention to harm Abu Akleh.

But her family said they were left “incredulous” at the findings.

The Al Jazeera reporter was shot in May while reporting on an IDF raid near Jenin, in the West Bank, targeting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.

Israeli officials initially suggested she have been killed by a shot fired by Palestinians, but subsequently proposed a joint investigation into the journalist’s death.

The offer was rejected by the Palestinian Authority, which said it did not trust Israel.

It eventually handed the bullet that killed her to US officials on Saturday.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said that “independent, third-party examiners” were unable to reach a definitive conclusion regarding the bullet’s origin because it was badly damaged.

He said investigators had been granted access to separate Israeli and Palestinian investigations and concluded that “gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.”

But Price added: “The [Security Coordinator] found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances during an IDF-led military operation”.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said: “The IDF investigation was unable to determine who is responsible for the tragic death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but it was able to determine conclusively that there was no intention to harm her.

“Israel expresses sorrow over her death.”

Abu Akleh’s family said in a statement that the US finding that the bullet likely came from Israeli positions was “cold comfort” and “insulting to Shireen’s memory”.

“The truth is that the Israeli military killed Shireen according to policies that view all Palestinians – civilian, press or otherwise – as legitimate targets, and we were expecting that an American investigation would focus on finding the responsible parties and holding them accountable”.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said the findings showed the circumstances leading to the Al Jazeera reporter’s death were still unclear.

“The defence establishment is committed to uncovering the truth,” he said in a statement.

“In this specific case, despite the forensic investigation, it was not possible to reach a definitive conclusion.

“Unfortunately, it is not possible to determine the source of the shooting – and as such, the investigation will continue.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: