Reconstruction of the killing point of the reporter in the Israeli fire

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Jenin, West Bank – Who killed Shirin Abu Akleh?

Nearly two weeks after the death of a senior Al Jazeera Palestinian-American reporter, a reorganization of the Associated Press supports the claim of both the Palestinian Authority and Abu Akleh’s colleagues that the bullet that cut him came from an Israeli gun.

Due to serious mistrust between the two parties, any final answer could prove elusive, each of which contains a single possession of potentially important evidence.

Multiple videos and photos taken on the morning of May 11 show an Israeli convoy standing on a narrow road from Abu Akleh, with a clear view. They show reporters and other pedestrians in real time taking cover from shots fired from the side of the convoy.

The only sure presence of Palestinian militants was on the other side of the convoy, about 300 meters (yards) away, mostly separated from Abu Akleh by buildings and walls. Israel says at least one militant was among the convoy and journalists, but they did not provide any evidence or indicate the location of the gunman. Palestinian eyewitnesses say there were no militants in the area and no gunfights until Abu Akleh was killed and another journalist was wounded.

Those eyewitnesses said they had no doubt that Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli soldiers, and is now celebrated as a martyr for both journalism and Palestinian cause. The Israeli military says he was killed in a complex gunfight between soldiers and militants, and only a full investigation – including forensic analysis of the bullets – could prove who fired the shots.

The Palestinians have refused to hand over the bullets or co-operate with Israel in the investigation, but have said they will share the results of their own investigation with any other party.

Abu Akleh’s death has fueled tensions in the Middle East amid a wave of violence and new concerns about the safety of journalists covering Israel’s nearly 55-year military occupation of the West Bank, which Palestinians want as a key part of their future state.

AP reporters visited the site of Abu Akleh’s death on the edge of the Jenin refugee camp in the northwest, as well as a close-up of a battle with Israeli forces captured in a video shared by Israel.

Interviews with five Palestinian eyewitnesses support an analysis by a Dutch-based Bellingcat research group that indicates that Israeli forces were closer to Abu Akleh and had better eyesight. The group, which analyzes photos and videos shared online, specializes in war zone geography events, Marks the location of the caravan Just above a narrow road from where Abu Akleh was killed.

Journalists accompanying Abu Akleh say it was quiet when they arrived at the scene, with no clashes or militants in the vicinity. Ali Samudi, an Al Jazeera producer in Jenin, said he called people inside the camp to get an idea of ​​what was happening.

They then proceeded from an open area to a long, narrow road sloping towards a cluster of concrete buildings where an Israeli army convoy was parked about 200 meters away. Each reporter wore a helmet and a blue vest labeled “Press” in large letters.

“We’ve moved to the open so they can see us,” Samudi told the AP. “They did not indicate that we should leave, so we proceeded slowly, about 20 meters.”

Local photographer Shatha Hanayesheh said they stood there for 5 to 10 minutes, talking and even smiling at the soldiers. A video showing the first shots being captured Supports his account.

Samudi said the soldiers fired a warning shot, causing him to duck and run backwards. The second shot hit him in the back. Abu Akleh was shot in the head and appears to have died instantly, Hanasheh taking refuge on the other side of a tree next to a wall. The bark of the tree facing the army appears to have been cut off with gunshots or knives.

“We saw shots fired from the army,” Hanasheh said. “When Ali and Shirin and I ran for cover, we ran away from them.”

A local resident named Sharif Azar, who was on his way to work, heard gunshots and rushed for help. He will be seen in the other Widely shared video Where Hanasheh climbed the wall and helped him escape.

Several shots were heard after Abu Akleh was killed, as people on both sides of the road were overwhelmed. When Azar moves away from the tree, shots are fired and he returns, indicating that they are coming from an army position. He said he saw soldiers shelling their guns.

“They have shot at us more than once. Whenever anyone approaches, they shoot at them, “he said.

A preliminary investigation by the Israeli military into the shooting said there were two possibilities.

In the first, it said that Palestinian militants on the other side of the convoy in the south were recklessly firing hundreds of rounds, one of which could hit Abu Akleh, who was about 300 meters away. Bullets fired from an M16 can go more than 1,000 meters.

But the military provided no visual evidence, excluding footage of Palestinian militants firing from other locations where Abu Akleh had no vision.

The AP has not released any evidence to support this first view.

The second scenario, at this point, would appear more admirable.

An army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Amanon Scheffler, said there was at least one Palestinian gunman on the street between the army and journalists in and around Abu Akleh. The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a U.S. military base. The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a U.S. military base.

The army’s investigation into that rifle was void, Schaefler said, although it still believes a misguided Palestinian bullet could kill him.

The military says it cannot answer without comparing bullets to weapons. Army Chief Prosecutor Major General Ifat Tomar-Jerusalem said in a speech on Monday that “the possibility of testing the bullet remains unresolved.”

He said the killings took place in an active war zone, and no decision would be made on whether a criminal investigation would be launched until a preliminary investigation is completed.

Videos posted on social media that day showed heavy gunfire in other parts of Jenin, near a house surrounded by Israeli military vehicles about 1.5 kilometers (one mile) from where Abu Akleh was shot.

Eyewitnesses who spoke to the AP insisted that there were no militants in the area between the journalist and the army. The area is mostly open, but a gunman can take refuge in the brush-filled cemetery on the east side of the road or in an open-air brick factory next to where the journalists were staying.

No militants were seen in any of the videos showing the location of the journalists. The Palestinian Ministry of Health says no more Palestinians were killed or injured in Jenin that day. The local media also has no record of any other Palestinian casualties.

Walid Omari, who oversees Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Palestinian territories, said he had not seen any evidence of militancy between the journalist and the army.

“If there was a Palestinian militant there, why didn’t he shoot him?” They have snipers, ”he said. “It’s clear to us now that they targeted Shirin.”

Shortly after the shooting, Israel called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority, which operates in parts of the occupied West Bank and asked Abu Akleh to hand over the killer bullet for ballistic analysis. Israel has invited Palestinian and American representatives to take part in the investigation.

The PA declined to comment, saying Israel could not be trusted in its own investigation. Within hours of the shooting, both PA and Al Jazeera accused Israel of deliberately targeting Abu Akleh, but did not provide any specific evidence for this claim, which Israel strongly denies.

A spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians were conducting a “pure, professional investigation” and would share the results with international organizations. He declined to give details of the investigation or answer questions about trying to match the bullet with the weapon.

“We are convinced that Israel is responsible for the killings, and we have evidence, proof and witnesses that confirm this,” Nabil Abu Redeneh told the AP. “We have no confidence in the Israeli investigation because their goal is to prove the truth.”

Israeli investigations into the firing on Palestinians often drag on for months or years before they take refuge in silence, and rights groups say the troops are rarely held accountable.

Israeli authorities initially suggested that in the video they shared, Palestinian fighters could kill Abu Akleh. They retreated after the Israeli rights group B’Tselem aired another video, showing that it was virtually impossible for them to shoot him, as the two locations were hundreds of meters apart and separated by buildings and walls. B’Tselem is still conducting its own investigation.

Palestinian investigators are in possession of the bullet that killed Abu Akleh, who was rescued from his head. Samudi says the bullet that hit him shattered, leaving some fragments inside his back. It is not clear if any other pieces were recovered.

Leor Nadivi, a former crime scene investigator and Israeli police firearms examiner, said the bullet that killed Abu Akleh could contain a wealth of possible evidence.

A distortion may indicate it ricocheted. The markings will show the type of weapon and a microscopic signature could potentially be used to match a specific firearm with a bullet. He said there was “no way” to disperse without leaving a clear mark on a bullet.

However, Nadivi said it was important to get a complete picture of what happened.

“You have to locate all the people who shot this journalist from the general side and then try to analyze what happened with each bullet,” he said. “You have a lot of information you need and we have nothing at the moment.”

In the end, it may be impossible to know exactly what happened; Neither side is likely to make the decision reached by the other. The United States, a close ally of Israel, has said it is “working to bridge the gap” between the two sides, but indicates no progress.

Last week, 57 House Democrats called for an FBI investigation. Both Israel and the PA have to ask for US assistance, and neither seems to have done so. Israel has invited the United States to participate in the role of observer.

Theoretically, each party could submit evidence to a third party for analysis. But neither side has expressed interest in such an investigation, and if they do not like the results, everyone can bring charges against the other for dispersing the evidence.

Samudi visited the murder scene in a wheelchair on Thursday as supporters set up a temporary memorial. Hanasheh also came, but kept his distance from the tree which was almost killed, saying that he was still too wounded to go near it.

Although he did not quit his job.

Two days after Abu Akleh was killed, Israeli forces returned to Jenin to launch another operation. Israel has said it is targeting militants after a series of attacks in recent weeks, many of which were carried out by assassins in the vicinity of Jenin.

Hanasheh says more journalists than usual came to cover it – and he was one of them.

“Any journalist knows they can be killed, but if we don’t do this, no one else will,” he said. “We know the occupation doesn’t want that to happen.”

Associated Press reporter Mazdi Mohammed contributed to this report.

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