Al Jazeera has denounced the findings of the Israeli military’s inquiry into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, saying it was “an attempt by the Israeli Occupation Forces to evade the criminal responsibility” for the fatal shooting of the veteran journalist.
The Israeli army admitted on Monday for the first time that one of its soldiers had likely shot the Al Jazeera journalist “accidentally” and added that it would not be launching a criminal investigation into her killing that caused global outrage.
“Al Jazeera Media Network denounces the findings of this investigation and stresses that this elusive admission is nothing but an attempt from the IOF to evade the criminal responsibility for the killing of Shireen, which has been proven by numerous independent and international investigations,” the Qatar-based network said in a statement on Monday.
“Al Jazeera condemns the Israeli Occupation Forces’ reluctance to explicitly admit their crime and attempts to evade the prosecution of the perpetrators,” the statement read.
The network demanded that “an independent international body investigates the assassination of Abu Akleh to achieve justice for her, her family, and fellow journalists around the world”.
The Doha-based network has also referred Abu Akleh’s case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.
The 51-year-old was killed on May 11 while covering an Israeli incursion in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, despite wearing a helmet and flak jacket clearly marked “PRESS”.
Al Jazeera has repeatedly decried Abu Akleh’s killing, and has previously said she was targeted with live fire.
Al Jazeera and several other inquiries by leading human rights groups and media organisations have corroborated witness accounts that Abu Akleh was shot by Israeli forces.
Detailed investigations by the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority, and multiple media outlets, including CNN and The Associated Press news agency, found that Abu Akleh was definitively shot by Israeli fire and that there were no Palestinian fighters at the scene when she was killed – debunking Israeli claims.
In its statement, Al Jazeera said it “renews its pledge to support Shireen’s family and colleagues around the world and continues to call on all media, press freedom and international human rights organisations to amplify their demands to ensure all the perpetrators be held accountable”.
Palestinian officials, human rights campaigners, and the family of Abu Akleh have also criticised the Israeli military investigation.