Palestine: latest US report on the circumstances of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh's killing fails to hold Israeli forces accountable

The United States of America published on Monday 4 July the results of their forensic analysis regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. While the findings revealed that the shot had likely been fired from an Israeli military's position, they could not conclude that there had been an intention to kill the veteran reporter. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) express their disappointment in the report issued by the American investigation committee and call for justice to be upheld in this murder of the Palestinian journalist.

Gazans light candles during a vigil in honour of slain Palestinian Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. MOHAMMED ABED / AFP

Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aklehwas shot dead by the Israeli army while covering a raid in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin early on 11 May. Journalist Ali Samoudi was present when Shireen was killed and was also shot in the shoulder. Both joined a long list of journalists targeted by the Israeli armed forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

On Monday 4 July, the United States concluded their investigation by independent, third-party examiners that Shireen Abu Akleh was likely killed by Israeli gunfire and urged accountability. According to AFP, the United States said it could not make a "definitive conclusion" on the origin of the bullet that killed the journalist on 11 May and that there was no reason to believe she was shot intentionally.

In astatement, the State Department's spokesperson Ned Price summed up the USSC investigation in these words: 

“By summarising both investigations, the USSC concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.”

However, the US Security Coordinator (USSC) found, still in his words, “no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances.”

This view differs from the findings by the United Nations and severalmedia outlets, which concluded that she was deliberately targeted by Israeli forces.

The PJS considered the “American experts’ report” unprofessional and defined it as a “political security report, aimed at evading Israel’s responsibility for the deliberate targeting and assassinating of Shireen Abu Aqleh,” while reiterating its confidence in the report of the Palestinian Public Prosecutor and the United Nations report.

The IFJ strongly condemned this latest targeted killing of a Palestinian media worker and has pledged to add the murder to the communication lodged at the International Criminal Court (ICC) which details the systematic targeting of Palestinian journalists.

The IFJ is also leading anew complaint to the International Criminal Court, with the support of PJS and the International Center of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP). Our group already submitted a request to the Court in April 2022 for the ICC Prosecutor to launch an investigation into the systematic targeting, maiming and killing of journalists and the destruction of media infrastructure in Palestine. 

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “Truth needs to be established about Shireen Abu Akleh's murder. The United States fell short in that by not holding Israeli forces accountable and invoking “tragic circumstances”. The IFJ is determined to shed light on the true circumstances of her killing and joins the PJS on denouncing this incomplete report.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

Follow the IFJ on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Subscribe to IFJ News