Al Jazeera says it will take the case to the International Criminal Court over journalist murder

JERUSALEM – Al Jazeera news network said it will submit a case file to the International Criminal Court on the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was accused of being killed in Israel earlier this month. Shot dead in raids in the occupied West Bank.

The Qatar-based network and the Palestinian Authority have accused Israeli soldiers of deliberately killing her. Israel denies the allegations are “blatant lies”. It said she was shot in an exchange of fire between soldiers and Palestinian militants, and only a ballistic analysis of the bullet – held by the Palestinian Authority – can determine who fired the fatal shot.

The AP’s reconstruction has bolstered witnesses who say the veteran Palestinian-American journalist was killed by Israeli fire, but any final conclusions may depend on evidence that has not yet been released.

Al Jazeera said late on Thursday that it had assembled an international legal team to prepare a case file for submission to the International Criminal Court. Last year, a court opened an investigation into possible war crimes by Israel. Israel is not a member of the International Criminal Court and has refused to investigate because it is biased against it.

Al Jazeera said the case file would also include Israel’s bombing of its office building in Gaza City during last year’s war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, “as well as continued incitement and harassment of its journalists working in the occupied areas. attack”. Palestinian Territory. “

Israel said the building — which also houses the Associated Press’ Gaza office — contained Hamas’ military infrastructure, but provided no evidence. The Associated Press is not aware of any alleged Hamas presence in the building and has condemned the strike as “shocking and horrific.” No one was injured in the strike after Israel warned to leave.

Al Jazeera said: “The network has vowed to do everything possible to bring justice to Shireen and to ensure that her killers are brought to justice and held accountable in all international judicial and legal platforms and courts.”

Israel said it could not determine whether Palestinian militants or its own soldiers fired the fatal shot unless the Palestinian Authority handed over the bullet that killed Abu Akler for ballistic analysis. The Palestinian Authority has refused to cooperate with Israel in any way, saying it does not believe Israel will investigate on its own.

The Palestinian Authority announced its own findings on Thursday, saying Abu Akl was deliberately killed by Israeli forces and that there were no militants in the area. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz denied the findings, saying “any claims that IDF deliberately harmed journalists or unrelated civilians is a blatant lie,” referring to the Israeli military.

Announcing the findings, Palestinian Attorney General Akram Al Khateeb said the bullet that killed her was a 5.56mm NATO armor-piercing round that appeared to be fired from a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle.

The Israeli military declined to comment on whether the gun described by the Palestinians matched what the military had previously identified as likely firing a lethal shot. It also declined to say whether the army used Ruger Mini-14s, or whether they used any of them when Abu Akleh was killed in the May 11 attack on the West Bank town of Jenin.

Israel has publicly called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority with the participation of the United States. The U.S. State Department said this week that neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority has formally requested assistance. Each side has potentially key evidence, and neither side is likely to accept any conclusions drawn by the other.



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