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Shireen Abu Akleh: Israel says it's 'not possible' to determine who shot journalist

Israeli report acknowledges that soldier 'using a telescopic scope' may have fired on Al Jazeera reporter
A Palestinian man rides his bicycle in front of a mural in honour of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, in Gaza City (AFP)

The Israeli army said on Friday that an investigation could not determine who fired the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

Multiple eyewitnesses, including Middle East Eye contributor Shatha Hanaysa, said the 51-year-old Palestinian-American journalist, a veteran reporter at the Qatar-based news channel, was shot dead by Israeli snipers during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday.

However, Israel quickly tried to suggest Palestinian gunmen were responsible, with both the military and Israel's US embassy tweeting a video of Palestinian gunmen in Jenin firing down an alley. 

Since then, Israel has begun rowing back on that assertion, with military chief Aviv Kochavi saying "we cannot determine by whose fire she was harmed".

Visual investigation: Who killed Shireen Abu Akleh?
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And on Friday, an initial investigation said it was "not possible" to determine the source of the gunfire.

The report again suggested that Palestinian gunmen could have been responsible. However, eyewitnesses say there was no crossfire at the time and the Palestinians were far from the team of six journalists that came under fire.

Another possibility, the report said, "is that during the gunfight, one of the soldiers shot a few bullets from a jeep using a telescopic scope at a terrorist who was firing at his vehicle".

Unnamed Israeli officials have told journalists that soldiers 150 metres from Abu Akleh fired repeatedly around the time of her death.

A visual investigation by Middle East Eye into Abu Akleh's death, which established the location of a number of key events on Wednesday, as well as testimony from witnesses, also cast doubt on Israeli claims that the veteran journalist could have been killed by Palestinian fire.

The Palestinian Authority has rejected holding a joint probe into the death with Israel, or handing over the fatal bullet for forensic examination, saying Israel was "completely responsible" for her death.

On Friday, Israeli forces cracked down on Abu Akleh's funeral, assaulting mourners carrying her casket as they left a hospital for a church in Jerusalem's Old City.

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