The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, apparently by an Israeli soldier, an official familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel on Monday.

US officials updated their Israeli counterparts earlier this month of the decision, the official said, confirming a Channel 14 news report.

The 51-year-old Abu Akleh, who was wearing a vest marked “Press” and a helmet, was shot dead on May 11, during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen that broke out after soldiers raided the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank, amid a wider terror crackdown.

An Israel Defense Forces investigation found that she was hit by a bullet likely shot by an Israeli soldier, seemingly by mistake. The Palestinian Authority has alleged that she was targeted.

The US decision represents an about-face, after the Biden administration insisted for months that it would not be opening its own investigation, instead relying on probes conducted by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

There has been intense pressure for a US probe from Abu Akleh’s family, as well as Democratic members of Congress, including several relatively moderate lawmakers who are known for their strong support for the US-Israel relationship, such as Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Corey Booker.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted that the decision to probe Abu Akleh’s “unfortunate” death was “a grave mistake.” He noted that the IDF had conducted its own investigation into the Al Jazeera reporter’s death and that those findings were shared with the Biden administration.

“I made it clear to the American representatives that we stand behind the IDF’s soldiers, that we will not cooperate with any external investigation and we will not allow interference in Israel’s internal affairs,” tweeted Gantz.

The defense minister’s pushback was similar to what he voiced in September when the State Department deputy spokesman said the US was urging Israel to review the IDF’s open-fire protocols in the wake of Abu Akleh’s killing.

In addition to Gantz, Prime Minister Yair Lapid also lashed out, fuming over the attempt to “dictate” Israel’s policies.

The US seemed backed to back off later that week, with State Department spokesman Ned Price saying, “No one knows the IDF’s processes and procedures better than the IDF, and so it is not on us or any other country or entity to say precisely what the IDF or any military or security organization around the world should do.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined a request to comment on Monday, as did the US Justice Department, though neither denied the opening of an investigation.

The announcement came as Israel is set to transition to a new government led by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and hard-right allies, which may increase friction between Jerusalem and Washington.

While such investigations are relatively rare, there is certainly precedent for the FBI to probe the death of an American citizen abroad.

A White House National Security Council spokeswoman said, “Our thoughts remain with the Abu Akleh family as they grieve this tremendous loss. Not only was Shireen an American citizen, she was a fearless reporter whose journalism and pursuit of truth earned her the respect of audiences around the world.”

I joined The Times of Israel after many years covering US and Israeli politics for Hebrew news outlets.

I believe responsible coverage of Israeli politicians means presenting a 360 degree view of their words and deeds – not only conveying what occurs, but also what that means in the broader context of Israeli society and the region.

That’s hard to do because you can rarely take politicians at face value – you must go the extra mile to present full context and try to overcome your own biases.

I’m proud of our work that tells the story of Israeli politics straight and comprehensively. I believe Israel is stronger and more democratic when professional journalists do that tough job well.

Your support for our work by joining The Times of Israel Community helps ensure we can continue to do so.

Thank you,
Tal Schneider, Political Correspondent

We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

QOSHE - FBI launching probe into killing of Palestinian-American reporter Abu Akleh - Jacob Magid
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

FBI launching probe into killing of Palestinian-American reporter Abu Akleh

8 85 28
15.11.2022

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, apparently by an Israeli soldier, an official familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel on Monday.

US officials updated their Israeli counterparts earlier this month of the decision, the official said, confirming a Channel 14 news report.

The 51-year-old Abu Akleh, who was wearing a vest marked “Press” and a helmet, was shot dead on May 11, during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen that broke out after soldiers raided the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank, amid a wider terror crackdown.

An Israel Defense Forces investigation found that she was hit by a bullet likely shot by an Israeli soldier, seemingly by mistake. The Palestinian Authority has alleged that she was targeted.

The US decision represents an about-face, after the Biden administration insisted for months that it would not be opening its own investigation, instead relying on probes conducted by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

There has been intense pressure for a US probe from Abu Akleh’s family, as well as Democratic members of Congress, including several relatively moderate lawmakers who are known for........

© The Times of Israel


Get it on Google Play