FBI investigates death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Israel calls inquiry a 'mistake' and says it will not co-operate

A mural depicting Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while covering an Israeli army raid in Jenin in May. AFP
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The FBI has opened an investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Israel said on Monday, in a move its Defence Minister Benny Gantz condemned.

Israeli officials said the US Justice Department had told the Israeli Justice Ministry that the FBI was investigating Abu Akleh's death.

The Al Jazeera journalist was shot dead in May while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank, sparking international criticism.

"The decision taken by the US Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the tragic passing of Shireen Abu Akleh is a mistake," Mr Gantz said on Twitter.

Israel considers the matter closed after its own investigation found that an Israeli Defence Forces soldier probably, but accidentally, killed Abu Akleh during a fight with Palestinian gunmen.

Israel considers any external inquiry to be an infringement of its sovereignty, and it did not start a criminal investigation amid calls for accountability.

"The IDF has conducted a professional, independent investigation, which was presented to American officials with whom the details were shared," Mr Gantz said.

He said Israel "will not co-operate" with the investigation.

"I have delivered a message to US representatives that we stand by the IDF’s soldiers, that we will not co-operate with an external investigation, and will not enable intervention to internal investigations."

Global news organisations, Palestinian groups and the UN all conducted their own investigations and found that Abu Akleh was shot by the IDF.

“This is an overdue but necessary and important step in the pursuit of justice and accountability in the shooting death of American citizen and journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh," US Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said.

"I will continue pressing for the full facts and truth in this case."

Mr Van Hollen this year issued two letters with dozens of House and Senate members calling for US investigations into her death.

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Updated: November 15, 2022, 7:39 AM