Shireen Abu Akleh, a Catholic Palestinian journalist for Al Jazeera and US citizen, was shot and killed while covering a gun battle initiated by Palestinian terrorists who attacked Israeli forces during an operation in Jenin on May 11, 2022. The Palestinian Authority immediately blamed Israel through the PA’s chief pathologist, who examined the body, and said he could not “declare any information” concerning who fired the bullet that killed her. The PA refused to allow any investigation into the incident, withholding the bullet from any examination. The bullet is of a type used by both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists.
Israel rejected the accusation, noting Palestinian terrorists were filmed shooting indiscriminately and saying they had hit an Israeli soldier even though no soldiers were wounded, possibly indicating they had shot Abu Akleh.
The media was quick to publish baseless accusations against Israel. CNN went so far as to claim that “Abu Akleh was killed in a targeted attack by Israeli forces.” CAMERA, a media watchdog, slammed the CNN report, noting the extreme bias of the “eyewitnesses” and covering up alternative theories. The Los Angeles Times upped the ante, claiming that the Israeli government played a role in Abu Akleh’s killing.
Never willing to miss an opportunity to condemn Israel, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a statement saying it is “deeply disturbing that Israeli authorities have not conducted a criminal investigation.” It should be emphasized that no investigation could be conducted without inspecting the bullet that killed the reporter. The OHCHR statement added that the agency conducted “independent monitoring” into the incident, determining that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh could have only come from Israeli forces and that the bullets fired at and around Abu Akleh were “seemingly well-aimed.”
The PA finally turned to bullet over to US investigators. The State Department released a statement, saying investigators “could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.” Nonetheless, the State Department added that the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC) “concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh.”
But this accusation did not satisfy the haters of Israel. Al Jazeera accused US diplomats of being “accessories to the murder of an American citizen.” The PA rejected the US report, saying that they were the only “competent authority” to carry out the investigation.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib released a statement in which she cited the CNN and UN study as proof that Abu Akleh “was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper…in what was likely a targeted assassination. ” In the statement, she referred to Israel as “an apartheid regime.”
“During his upcoming meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, President Biden must obtain the names of the soldiers responsible for killing Shireen, along with that of their commanding officer, so that these individuals can be fully prosecuted for their crimes by the Department of Justice,” Tlaib concluded.
Amid all the controversy, Israel National News carried out an independent investigation by leading physicist and ballistic expert Nahum Shahaf. In his report to INN, Shahaf claimed that “the bullet underwent a severe transformation at the hands of a hammer that created a deep depression in its back, which cannot be formed by the projectile’s movement alone.”
Shahaf criticized the State Department’s conclusion, blaming the “investigators’ anti-Semitic bias.”
“While there are some world-class experts at their forensics labs, most of the staff are your everyday practitioners, so you can’t expect them to be equipped to deal with these kinds of complex issues,” he states. “I conducted an experiment that made it possible to restore the original bullet. I’ve been advised by an expert source in the IDF but can’t reveal his findings before he fully authorizes them himself.”
“The [PA] claimed that Shireen was shot by a Roger rifle, a sniper rifle used by the IDF, a 0.22-LR-type which employs reduced energy and power and is considered non-lethal at a distance of over 100 meters. In this case, however, the bullet not only penetrated her spine but completely dismantled her lower jaw. I have seen the horrible image of what happened to her. The Roger rifle could not have done that. This is a rifle known to be non-lethal at such distances and certainly could not have destroyed her face like that. A wound like that requires a very strong bullet moving at a very fast pace.”
“The bullet was fired from a different and [more] powerful gun,” Shahaf said. “The Palestinians themselves were quoted as saying that the bullet came from a Roger rifle.
Shahaf concluded that Abu Aqleh “must have been shot from a heavy rifle like the Kalashnikov.”
Regarding alterations made to the bullet prior to the PA allowing foreign experts to analyze it, Shahaf says he can detect streaks of crushing as well as an internal depression, which can only be produced by a hammer of enormous weight. The squeezing in question was performed on the back of the bullet and not its front, which smashes on impact.
An expert in digital video transmission, Shahaf noted an anomaly in the videos of the shootout between IDF troops and terrorists in 2000 in the Gaza Strip during the Second Intifada that resulted in the death of 12-year-old Muhammad al-Durrah who, along with his father Jamal, was caught in the crossfire. The Palestinians claimed Muhammad was a martyr, and Israel was widely criticized. The Israel Defense Forces accepted responsibility for the shooting at first, claiming that Palestinians used children as human shields but later retracted the admission of responsibility. It was later revealed that France 2, who had filmed the incident, deceptively edited the video. The investigation by Shahaf concluded that the shots might have come from a position behind Abu Rahma, where Palestinian police were alleged to have been standing, firing at the IDF’s position. They also uncovered Palestinian sources claiming that the incident had been intentionally set up to damage Israel.