Israeli military will not open criminal probe into Shireen Abu Akleh killing

Journalist was shot while covering Israeli military raid in Jenin

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The Israeli military on Thursday said it would not immediately launch a criminal investigation into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American veteran journalist shot dead in the occupied West Bank.

Abu Akleh was shot in the head while wearing a flak jacket marked “PRESS” and a helmet, as she covered an Israeli military raid in Jenin on May 11.

Journalists and other witnesses said she was killed by an Israeli soldier, while the country’s officials have raised the prospect the single shot was fired by a Palestinian militant.

The military said it would not immediately open a criminal investigation into the shooting “due to the nature of the active combat situation”. Such an investigation is usually only launched if the army suspects a crime has been committed.

A separate inquiry into the death continues, the military told The National. It was opened following global condemnation over the journalist’s killing.

Abu Akleh, 51, had spent decades reporting for the media outlet Al Jazeera and was well known throughout the Arab world.

Her funeral on Friday drew thousands of mourners to Jerusalem, where police hit pallbearers with batons. Israeli security forces also used rubber bullets and stun grenades on mourners.

Police said those attending the funeral had thrown stones at officers, a claim disputed by mourners.

Updated: May 19, 2022, 5:34 PM