Bullet examined in journalist’s death may have been a substitute, says Defense Committee chairman

“The claim that it can’t be determined from the bullet who from which weapon it was shot and who it hit, could indicate that it’s the wrong bullet.”

By World Israel News Staff

The chairman of the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee weighed in on the investigation into the death of Arab-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, suggesting Tuesday that the bullet supplied by the Palestinian Authority for forensics tests may not have been the actual bullet which killed Abu Akleh.

Speaking with Israel’s Army Radio, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Ram Ben Barak (Yesh Atid) said the failure of American and Israeli experts to determine who fired the fatal shot based on their examinations of the bullet could mean the bullet transferred to the US embassy was “the wrong bullet.”

“The claim that it can’t be determined from the bullet who from which weapon it was shot and who it hit, could indicate that it’s the wrong bullet.”

He added that it is impossible to verify whether the bullet handed over was in fact “the bullet that hit the journalist.”

Ben Barak emphasized that he had not read the forensic report produced by the IDF following its examination of the bullet Sunday.

The bullet, a 5.56mm round, is used for a wide variety of rifles and light machine guns, including in the American-made M16 and M4 assault rifles used by the IDF and often used by Palestinian terror organizations.

On Saturday, the Palestinian Authority agreed to hand over the bullet to the US embassy for an independent analysis.

While the PA said Israel would not be allowed to examine the bullet, the IDF did conduct ballistic tests on the bullet in the presence of American investigators.

The bullet was returned to the PA on Sunday after the Israeli and U.S. teams completed their tests.

Both the US State Department and the Israeli military announced that the bullet, said to be serious damaged, did not provide sufficient evidence to determine who fired the fatal shot.

“After an extremely detailed forensic analysis, independent, third-party examiners, as part of a process overseen by the U.S. Security Coordinator (USSC), could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin of the bullet that killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday.

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“Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion.”

The Israeli army concurred with the assessment, releasing a statement Monday that the source of the fatal gunfire could not be deduced from the bullet.

“The IDF investigation concluded that the source of the fire that led to the death of Ms. Abu Akleh could not be determined based on the available information.”

Abu Akleh, a reporter for Al Jazeera, was killed on May 11, while covering a firefight between IDF soldiers and Arab terrorists in Jenin. A second Al Jazeera journalist was wounded.

Because Abu Akleh had U.S. citizenship, President Joe Biden pressured Israelis and Palestinians to cooperate on the investigation. Biden is scheduled to visit Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia on July 13-16.