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Ramallah transfers bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist to US – but is Israel running the investigation?

While Palestinians insist the bullet is meant for Americans to investigate, Israeli general says Israel is conducting forensic test

People light candles during a vigil in memory of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, May 16, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma)

The Palestinian Authority agreed to hand over the bullet that killed an Al Jazeera journalist last month during fighting between Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinians in Jenin in May.

The bullet was transferred on Saturday night to the American embassy, but the Palestinian Authority chief prosecutor Akram al-Khatib said the bullet would not be “transferred to the Israeli side.”

Al Jazeera reported that the bullet had already been tested and returned to Palestinian authorities on Monday morning.

It was not clear who conducted the forensics analysis. Palestinians insisted it was to be tested by American officials. However, on Sunday morning, an Israeli general said that Israel would run a ballistics test on the bullet with American oversight. 

“The test will not be American. The test will be an Israeli test, with an American presence throughout,” said Israeli military spokesman Brigadier-General Ran Kochav. “In the coming days or hours it will be become clear whether it was even us who killed her, accidentally, or whether it was the Palestinian gunmen. If we killed her, we will take responsibility and feel regret for what happened.”

Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian journalist, was killed during fighting. Palestinians said an Israeli soldier intentionally killed the reporter and had refused to hand over the bullet or run a joint investigation with Israel.

Despite Palestinian accusations, Israel has repeatedly said its soldiers did not aim at Abu Akleh and has insisted on running a ballistics test on the bullet against its weapons. 

The Palestinian concession to share the bullet with Israel comes a week before U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit the region. U.S. lawmakers have called on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to pressure Palestinians to share the bullet.

“We urge you to ask the Palestinian Authority to provide access to the forensic evidence in Abu Akleh’s death for an independent investigation so that all parties can reach a definitive conclusion about the events leading to her death, and hold all parties accountable,” the 25 congressmen wrote in a letter to Blinken.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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