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Palestinians to let US examine bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

<i>Mussa Qawasma/Reuters/File</i><br/>People light candles during a vigil in memory of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on May 16
REUTERS
Mussa Qawasma/Reuters/File
People light candles during a vigil in memory of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on May 16

By Abeer Salman and Hadas Gold, CNN

The Palestinian Authority will allow US investigators to examine the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, PA Attorney General Akram Al Khatib announced Saturday.

The Al Jazeera journalist was killed while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on May 11. The Palestinian Authority has refused to hand over the bullet to Israel, saying they could not trust the Israelis to conduct an impartial investigation.

“We will not hand over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh to the occupation, and we have agreed that the Americans will conduct a forensic examination of the bullet,” Khatib told journalists.

The bullet will be examined at the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Khatib told CNN. The Palestinians have received “guarantees” from the US the bullet “would not be delivered to Israel,” he said.

The US Embassy did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment. The Israeli Defense Forces said it did not yet have a public comment.

A forensic investigation of the bullet could potentially allow for an official determination of who killed Abu Akleh.

The Israeli military says it is not clear who fired the fatal shot. In a preliminary inquiry, the army said there was a possibility Abu Akleh was hit either by indiscriminate Palestinian gunfire, or by an Israeli sniper positioned about 200 meters (about 656 feet) away in an exchange of fire with Palestinian gunmen — though neither Israel nor anyone else has provided evidence showing armed Palestinians within a clear line of fire from Abu Akleh.

The Palestinian Authority says there were no militants in the area and an Israeli soldier purposefully targeted her.

Al Jazeera has decried her death as “a blatant murder” by Israeli forces.

At least five journalistic investigations, including one by CNN, have all suggested the fatal shot came from a position where Israeli troops were known to have been. None of the investigations have found any evidence of Palestinian militants near Abu Akleh when she was shot.

Abu Akleh covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for two decades, and was beloved across the region for her fearless reporting. She was given a state funeral at the Palestinian presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

Palestinians — along with journalists, human rights activists and other leaders — across the globe continue to demand accountability for her killing.

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